Boeing CEO James McNerney will be in DC this week to attend an Ex-Im bank rally, but refused an invitation to testify on behalf of the bank before Congress.
The House Financial Services Committee wanted McNerney to talk about the public policy and economic rationale for the Bank, which will expire June 30 if Congress doesn’t reauthorize it. (RELATED: Is The Ex-Im Bank Done?)
Conservative opposition to the Bank has recently reached a fever pitch, and McNerney is scheduled to speak at its annual conference Thursday. But he refused the opportunity to testify and answer questions about it, even after the the committee agreed to move the hearing from a subcommittee to the full committee.
“Boeing is by far the Export-Import Bank’s biggest beneficiary and its most ardent supporter,” Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling said in a statement Wednesday. “So it is extremely disappointing that Boeing’s CEO refuses to appear before our committee for a hearing about the public policy and economic rationale for the Bank.”
The bank’s stated mission is to make it easier for U.S. businesses to export goods by providing financing deemed impossible or too risky by the market, with the goal of helping the U.S. economy. But critics say it amounts to international corporate welfare funded by U.S. taxpayers.
The CEO of Delta Air Lines — one of the domestic businesses vocally criticizing the Bank — agreed to testify, but the hearing was never scheduled because of McNerney’s refusal. (RELATED: Boeing, Delta Square Off On Ex-Im Bank)
Boeing asked the committee to consider a different panel structure to avoid a confrontation with Delta, which is an important customer, a source familiar with the discussions told The Hill. It also asked whether a different senior official could testify, but the Committee denied both requests.
Boeing’s Senior Vice President Tim Keating told The Daily Caller News Foundation the company’s executives have testified about the importance of the Bank multiple times, and discussed it in meetings with people on the Hill, including Chairman Hensarling. “Our views are well known and well documented,” he said.
Hensarling said the committee intends to hold at least one full-committee hearing on the future of the Bank.
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