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NTU Opposes Attempt to Reauthorize Export-Import Bank

by Nan Swift / /

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 597, the “Reform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act.” This legislation would reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank through 2019, thereby perpetuating a program with dubious benefits and serious liabilities for taxpayers.

Though the program professes to support small businesses, a majority of Ex-Im financing uses taxpayer dollars to back overseas sales for large, profitable companies like Boeing, John Deere, Caterpillar, Dell, and GE – at times on projects that directly compete with domestic enterprises, such as natural gas and iron ore mines. Ex-Im helps to enable merely a small fraction of our total exports, which reached $2.35 trillion last year – setting a record for the fifth year in a row. And major clients of the bank have admitted their productivity would be unaffected should Ex-Im financing go away. Further, recent claims by bank customers that without Ex-Im support they could be forced to move jobs overseas have proved baseless.

Any private funding gaps that may exist argue for the bank’s elimination, not its continuance. If private entities are unwilling to risk their own funds, this should serve as a clear warning sign that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be exposed either. The government should be seeking to reduce, not continue, its role in underwriting private business activities. Like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Ex-Im exposes taxpayers to considerable risk and substantially distorts markets. When government picks winners, the real losers are the American people as witnessed by debacles like Solyndra, a failed company that received Ex-Im funding.

Supporters claim that H.R. 597 would implement reforms limiting taxpayer risk and increasing accountability. However, many of those provisions duplicate past efforts at the bank. Despite these “safe-guards” Ex-Im has been plagued by scandal and proved unable or unwilling to implement other reforms in the past. This only emphasizes the fact that the bank’s activities are incompatible with good governance.

Roll call votes on H.R. 597 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700