Boeing VP rips Congress over Ex-Im Bank

A top Boeing official criticized Congress on Tuesday for failing to pass a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

He also argued that an extension of the Bank’s charter until next summer leaves supporters in a worse position than they were in before.

“Mostly far-right political consultants, think tanks and congressmen banded together in a fit of ideological road rage to kill the bank,” Boeing Senior Vice President Timothy Keating said in prepared remarks at an aerospace conference in Everett, Wash.

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“The temporary extension recently enacted, in many respects, leaves us worse off than before,” Keating continued. “The extension is to next summer, when in all likelihood, the Congress will be more polarized than even now. And a short-term extension does not provide business certainty, both for U.S. exporters and their potential foreign customers."

Tea Party groups oppose the bank. They argue that it unfairly helps companies like Boeing and is an example of “corporate welfare.”

Boeing, as well as most centrist Republicans and Democrats argue the bank is needed to help secure American jobs, while also allowing for U.S. companies to make inroads overseas in emerging markets.

They also argue that other countries have similar state-supported enterprises, so the U.S. would be unilaterally disarming by killing off the bank.

Keating noted that, while the fate of the bank is uncertain, America's competitors, such as China, are trying to lure potential business in their direction.

“The Export-Import Bank gives American manufacturing a fighting chance in the global arena. Ex-Im has long enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the Congress, and presidents ranging from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have favored its continued operation," said Keating, a former special assistant to President Bill Clinton.

“Spending too long in Washington, D.C., can make you a bit jaded and hard to surprise,” he said, “but it is still amazing to me that the people going after Ex-Im are basically willing to dismantle the U.S. aerospace industry and ship the jobs to France or China all in order to raise some extra money and show their most rabid supporters that it is possible to kill a government program, irrespective of the real-world consequences.”