In a press conference Friday President Obama expressed support for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, but video from 2008 shows then-presidential candidate Obama singing a different tune.
“This is an interesting thing that’s happened,” Obama said of a battle over the bank being led by a faction of House Republicans.
“This is a program in which we help to provide financing to sell American goods and products around the world. Every country does this.”
“It’s traditionally been championed by Republicans,” Obama continued. “For some reason, right now the House Republicans have decided that we shouldn’t do this.”
A faction of House Republicans, led by House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, have led a push against the reauthorization of the bank, whose charter expires Sept. 30.
They say that the bank, which provides credit at low rates to foreign companies doing business with American companies, benefits large corporations that do not need the help, thereby stifling competition.
But the bank’s supporters consider it essential and claim that it creates jobs and spurs the economy.
Obama cited examples of Boeing and General Electric being unable to secure business deals for airplanes and turbines, respectively, without the bank’s backing.
“We may lose that sale,” Obama said.
“We will lose business. And we’ll lose jobs if we don’t pass it.”
But Obama was less supportive of the bank at a campaign event in Wisconsin in Sept. 2008.
“There are some programs that have been duplicated by other programs that we just need to cut back,” a younger Obama said.
“Like waste at the Economic Development Agency and the Export-Import Bank that’s become little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”
“Now I understand also there are parts of these programs that may be worth defending, and politicians of both parties will definitely do so. But if we hope to meet the challenges of our time we have to make difficult choices. As President I’ll go through the entire federal budget, page by page, line by line, and I will eliminate the programs that do not work and are not needed so we can start providing the funding for the programs that do work and that are needed.”
Hensarling, a Texas Republican, issued a statement after Obama’s remarks Friday.
“Today, President Obama was cheerleading for the Export-Import Bank, which he once cheered against as a candidate when he called the Bank ‘little more than a fund for corporate welfare,’” Hensarling said in a statment.
He said that it is difficult to make a credible case that the bank’s reauthorization is critical to the economy, “because over 98 percent of all U.S. exports are funding without” it.
“If President Obama was really interested in leveling the playing field for American manufacturers, he would work with Republicans in Congress on pro-growth tax, energy, regulatory, and liability policies – not some international arms race to the bottom funded with taxpayer subsidies for his friends at Fortune 500 companies.”
WATCH (Obama on the Export-Import Bank in 2014):
WATCH (Obama on the Export-Import Bank in 2008):