Opinion

Legislative Lowdown: Obama officially endorses corporate welfare

First same-sex marriage, now corporate welfare. What will President Obama come out in favor of next?

This week, President Obama proudly signed into law legislation granting the Export-Import Bank an extension to 2014. The law will put taxpayers on the hook for another $40 billion in loan authority for the government-run “bank.”

Back on Sept. 22, 2008, then-Sen. Obama said, “I am not a Democrat who believes that we can and should defend every government program just because it is there. There are some that don’t work.” For the Obama of 2008, the Export-Import Bank, which he described as “little more than a fund for corporate welfare,” was one of those programs. Now, however, President Obama is thanking Congress for “authorizing the Ex-Im Bank for its extraordinary mission.” The mission is corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

Conservatives need to take another run at killing the Export-Import Bank when it comes up again for reauthorization in 2014.

A cap-and-trade treaty?

The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) may be a backdoor for the Obama administration to implement “cap-and-trade” regulations. Conn Carroll at The Washington Examiner has written that LOST may be part of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) plan to pass cap-and-trade greenhouse gas restrictions without Congress ever taking a vote to implement them.

“President Obama’s plans to pass economy-killing cap-and-trade regulations may have died in the Senate in 2010,” Carroll writes. “But if Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., gets his way, they will be resurrected after the presidential election.” Carroll cited a statement made last week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing where she argued that LOST “contains no obligations to implement any particular climate change policies.” Carroll argued that Clinton’s statement “is technically true, it is also completely non-responsive to the binding arbitration threat LOST poses to the U.S. economy.”

That fear is shared by Steven Groves at The Heritage Foundation, who maintains that LOST “would expose the U.S. to baseless climate change lawsuits.” Groves writes that if the Senate ratifies the treaty the “U.S. would be exposed to climate change lawsuits and other environmental actions brought against it by other members of the convention. The economic and political ramifications of such lawsuits would be dire.”

The Senate needs to further study this issue before it rubber-stamps a treaty rejected by President Ronald Reagan 30 years ago.