Opinion

Growing Coalition To Congress: End The Export-Import Bank

Christine Harbin Director of Federal Affairs, Americans for Prosperity

Opposition to extending the Export-Import Bank is growing. Today, a coalition of over 50 organizations representing millions of Americans sent a letter to Congress, calling on members to end it. Congress should listen.

“America deserves an international trade policy that is based on free-market mechanisms, not paying foreign companies to buy exports from large corporations with political connections,” the letter reads. “We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to oppose reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.”

Americans for Prosperity is proud to work with a broad coalition of organizations including Americans For Tax Reform, the Club For Growth, Freedom Partners, Heritage Action, and many others at the federal and state level. Our coalition released a version of this letter a little under a year ago, with 30 organizations on board. Just one year later, the number of signers has nearly doubled. Clearly, the more people learn about this previously-unknown agency, the more they oppose it.

This coalition letter follows an oversight hearing on Ex-Im last week in the House. What came to light was the egregious lack of transparency within the bank and the unwillingness of Ex-Im to submit to congressional oversight. Most alarming is that more corruption cases at the Bank are forthcoming.

Sensing that their taxpayer-subsidized gravy train may be coming to an end, Ex Im beneficiaries are engaged in full-on lobby mode. Beneficiaries have spent tens of millions of dollars in lobbying elected officials to keep the playing field tilted to their favor. They are roaming the halls of Congress, repeating the same worn-out wishful thinking about Ex-Im’s activities.

We will see Ex-Im beneficiaries descend upon Washington later this week for a two-day conference, designed to sway Congress to extend their handouts. Curiously missing from its lineup of speakers is the American taxpayer who is forced to bear the risk of these loans.

Bank beneficiaries and their lobbyists will say that they are open to reform efforts. Congress should avoid their siren song. A reform plan is still an extension, and it does not address the fundamental problems that arise from using tax dollars to subsidize loans for companies based on their political connections. Plus, as Delta CEO Richard Anderson noted during a House Financial Services Committee  hearing last year, Congress enacted reforms during the bank’s 2012 reauthorization, but very few if any of these reforms were ever implemented.

Congress should end — not reform, not extend — the Export Import Bank when it expires at the end of June. The main message from the hearing is that Ex-Im is beyond repair. Clearly its myriad problems are systemic and cannot be solved with reform efforts. The bank is on track to expire on June 30 of this year, and Congress should ensure that it does. Over 50 organizations representing millions of Americans are calling on them to do so.

Christine Harbin Hanson is national issue campaign manager for Americans for Prosperity.