Boeing, Delta Square Off On Export-Import Bank

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Peter Fricke Contributor
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Boeing is not only the Export-Import Bank’s biggest beneficiary, but also its biggest defender according to Streetwise. Delta Airlines may be its biggest opponent.

With only one month left before the bank’s charter is due to expire, Tess VandenDolder reports that Boeing is expanding its lobbying efforts in support of re-authorization. “In the second quarter of 2014 alone,” she writes. “Boeing has spent over $4.18 million on lobbying for the bank,” and has at least 18 lobbyists working on the issue.

Boeing is consistently the single largest recipient of Ex-Im financing — in 2012, for instance, it received 82 percent of Ex-Im authorizations — leading some opponents to label Ex-Im “Boeing’s Bank.” (RELATED: Some Beneficiaries of Export-Import Bank Oppose Re-Authorization)

However, Boeing contends that Ex-Im is a vital source of financing, allowing it to focus on innovation rather than banking. Standard & Poor estimates that Boeing’s “demand for new financing [could] rise from about $3.5 billion to as much as $9 billion,” if Ex-Im is not re-authorized, according to an  24/7 Wall St. This does not necessarily mean that financing would be unavailable, but rather that Boeing would have to secure financing from private lenders at market rates without direct financing or loan guarantees from Ex-Im. (RELATED: Is the Export-Import Bank Crony Capitalism)

Ex-Im’s relationship with Boeing is also frequently cited by those who consider the bank a form of corporate welfare. Delta Airlines has been particularly vocal in this respect, complaining that Ex-Im subsidies allow foreign competitors to purchase planes at a lower cost, placing Delta at a competitive disadvantage. (RELATED: Ex-Im Criticized for Lending to State-Controlled Foreign Companies)

On Wednesday, The Hill reported that, “Delta has hired additional lobbyists for the Ex-Im fight,” including several former high-ranking congressional staffers.

A Republican strategist told The Hill that Delta “realized it couldn’t compete with the lobbying muscle of Boeing,” so has focused on making its case directly to voters. An adviser for Boeing expressed similar sentiments, claiming that Delta has “been more aggressive both in its lobbying as well as in its broader public relations campaign,” as the debate over Ex-Im has heated up this year.

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