National Taxpayers Union urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 4863, the “United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019.” This legislation would reauthorize the flawed Export-Import Bank for 10 years, increase risk exposure to the government’s balance sheet, and fail to make meaningful reforms. We encourage you to support free-market principles and oppose this cronyism legislation.
Ex-Im Bank is often portrayed as a government agency necessary for small businesses to compete and win in the global marketplace. In reality, Ex-Im is nothing more than taxpayer-funded welfare for large corporations and the epitome of crony capitalism. When the agency was last fully functional, almost 65 percent of its activities benefited 10 large corporate manufacturers. For comparison, in FY 2014, small businesses received only 25 percent of the support from the bank, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Since taxpayers underwrite the risk of these loans, it is the federal government that is on the frontlines for any immediate losses. The government should be seeking to reduce, not perpetuate, its role in underwriting private business activities. It is therefore concerning that H.R. 4863 would further shield Ex-Im from real reforms. In fact, the “reforms” included in this proposal are far from what is needed to level the playing field for businesses large and small. Aside from simply changing its name to the “United States Export Agency,” this legislation would increase the agency’s lending limit to $175 billion and dismantle the board’s quorum requirements for providing loans.
While we are opposed to the underlying bill, NTU is supportive of a provision to double Ex-Im’s reinsurance program to $2 billion annually. Reinsurance is an innovative solution to offloading risk to private market actors, thus mitigating losses that would otherwise be absorbed by taxpayers.
Free-market groups aren’t the only ones calling for an end to the Ex-Im Bank. In the past, our annual “Toward Common Ground” report, undertaken with the left-of-center U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), has advocated for the elimination of the Ex-Im Bank.
Roll call votes on H.R. 4863 will be included 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 Policy and Government Affairs Associate Thomas Aiello at Thomas.Aiello@ntu.org