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Ex-Im critics sharpen knives for hearing (will bring up suspended bank officials and kickbacks)
The Hill ^ | June 25, 2014 | Vicki Needham

Posted on 06/25/2014 4:05:33 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Criticism will rain down Wednesday on the Export-Import Bank as members of an influential House panel debate whether it’s time to disband the agency.

Fred Hochberg, the chairman of the embattled bank, will square off in testimony against House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who is leading the charge to let the bank’s charter expire in September.

Hensarling and other members are likely to press Hochberg about reports that the bank has suspended or removed four officials for taking kickbacks, a controversy that could strengthen the hand of Ex-Im’s foes.

Business supporters swarmed Capitol Hill ahead of the hearing to lobby lawmakers and make the case for why renewal of the bank is important to the economy.

Francis Creighton, the executive vice president of government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, said the hearing would help clarify where a number of lawmakers stand on Ex-Im.

“We need to hear what Hensarling has to say about a way forward,” Creighton said.

He said even though Hensarling prefers to abolish the bank, he is “very good about bringing things to his committee and letting the committee works its will.”

“We have to work hard to try to get members to see importance of Ex-Im and hopefully get support going forward,” he said.

The hearing takes place the day after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) deflated supporters of Ex-Im by deferring to lieutenants, including incoming Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who are opposed to renewing the bank’s charter.

“My job is to work with our members to get to a place where the members are comfortable,” Boehner said. “Some people believe that we shouldn’t have it at all. Others believe that we should reauthorize it with significant reforms, and we’re going to work our way through this,” Boehner said.

Boehner’s statements further dimmed the prospects in the House for the bank, which has become a lightning rod among conservative groups that see it as a prime example of “crony capitalism” that serves the interests of corporate giants such as Boeing and General Electric.

Business groups are pushing back hard on the criticism, arguing that the bulk of the bank’s loans help small and medium-sized business.

That argument appears to be winning allies in the Senate.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Tuesday suggested that the upper chamber consider a reauthorization of Ex-Im despite opposition from conservatives.

“I think we ought to take it up,” McConnell said. “The last time it was up I didn’t support it, but I don’t think that’s an argument for not bringing it up.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pressed the House to pass a bill but left open the possibility of the Senate making the first move.

“I’m not wed to who does it first,” he said.

The House hearing on Wednesday is expected to be heated, with Hochberg testifying alongside Richard Anderson, Delta’s CEO, who is an outspoken opponent of the bank.

Anderson argues that a bulk of Ex-Im’s loans help foreign airlines purchase airplanes from Boeing at a discount, putting domestic carriers at a disadvantage.

“In spite of our government’s stated goal to foster open markets free of state subsidized competition, U.S. airlines today face that very competition from our own government in the form of Ex-Im loan guarantees, subsidies that are both massive and unnecessary,” Anderson is expected to say said in his prepared remarks.

“Ex-Im provides a tangible competitive advantage to foreign carriers.”

The Aerospace Industries Association rejects that argument, and sent out an ad set to begin running on Wednesday that says abolishing the bank would give Russia, China and Europe a leg up in export competition.

Hochberg will argue in his testimony that the U.S. can’t retreat from promoting exports, given that foreign rivals are engaged in similar financing to boost their manufacturers.

“There is a strong drive to increase exports from many countries around the globe. We need to send the same signal to competitor nations that we stand behind American workers and exporters and ensure that products stamped ‘made in the U.S.A.’ are able to compete on a level playing field,” Hochberg said in prepared remarks obtained by The Hill.

Democrats, meanwhile, are seizing on the bank battle to try and portray the GOP as being out of the political mainstream.

“The Tea Party is moving the Republican Party so far to the right on important issues like the Export-Import Bank that the business community is now farther from the Republican Party and closer to Democrats,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

“On issue after issue, from Ex-Im to immigration reform and tax extenders, the Republican leadership in the House is choosing the Tea Party over groups like the Chamber of Commerce that used to be the bedrock of the GOP.”

Financial Services Committee ranking member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Tuesday blasted McCarthy for flip-flopping his support of the bank, which she said provides millions of dollars to businesses in his district.

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) expressed support for a bill from Waters and Reps. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) and Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) that would extend the bank’s charter until 2021 and provide an increase in the lending cap to $175 billion.

Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said the renewal of Ex-Im should be a “no-brainer.”

“It depresses me that people are so willing to do things that are so bad for jobs, growth, the economy and manufacturing in particular, for a ideological goal,” he said.

“It’s like the Flat Earth Society.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: boeing; budget; corporatewelfare; delta; exim; generalelectric; jebhensarling
June 25, 2014 - NRO Editors: The Ex-Im Bank: Crony Capitalism in Action - "Few Americans would be surprised to learn that a government agency that hands out generous loans and credit guarantees to a select number of corporations is corrupt and poorly managed. This impression has been repeatedly affirmed by the Export-Import Bank’s inspector general. The bank has a long history of dealing with dodgy firms and doling out suspiciously large amounts of loans to certain companies.................................."
1 posted on 06/25/2014 4:05:34 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
June 25, 2014 - NRO Editors: The Ex-Im Bank: Crony Capitalism in Action - "Few Americans would be surprised to learn that a government agency that hands out generous loans and credit guarantees to a select number of corporations is corrupt and poorly managed. This impression has been repeatedly affirmed by the Export-Import Bank’s inspector general. The bank has a long history of dealing with dodgy firms and doling out suspiciously large amounts of loans to certain companies.................................."

Problem is, it's the only available option for small businesses to fund exports, AND it generates a billion to the Treasury every year. Clean it up, don't kill it.
2 posted on 06/25/2014 4:09:27 AM PDT by BikerJoe
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To: BikerJoe
They tried cleaning it up. They didn't carry out reforms in the last reauthorization.
3 posted on 06/25/2014 4:12:07 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Boeing, et al, can do their own selling and finance.
Close the shop and indict the kickbackers.
4 posted on 06/25/2014 4:32:47 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Rip it out by the roots.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I fully understand the degree of corruption in the E/I Bank.

Obama appointed a fellow traveler Commie/Fascist as president of the bank, very soon after his first election.

The solution is take the Senate in November, and drop the bomb on the whole sham, expose them all. Spend years applying daylight disinfectant on agency after agency.

Thank you for posting this article.

“U.S. Government to Loan Brazil’s Petrobras $10 Billion”

Mon 28 Dec 2009

Obozo refuses to approve the Keystone Pipeline, but will fund offshore exploration loan to a fellow commie.

Fn Traitor.

5 posted on 06/25/2014 4:52:17 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: Texas Fossil; All

By Kevin Cirilli and Vicki Needham - 06/25/14 11:38 AM EDT

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) used a Wednesday hearing to blast GOP leaders for opposing reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Waters argued Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has made killing the bank his top priority, and questioned whether the hearing would be fair.

“Let’s be serious, this hearing is not going to be a forthright discussion of the merits of the Bank. Mr. Chairman, we know your position on the Bank,” said Waters, the panel’s ranking Democrat.

“We know you’ve made ending the Bank your top priority – regardless if it’s at the expense of thousands of American companies trying to compete against businesses in China, Russia, Korea and countries across Europe –all of which have their own version of the Ex-Im Bank,” said the longtime House liberal and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who finds herself siding with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and that National Association of Manufacturers in the bank fight.

Democrats have sought to highlight GOP opposition to the Export-Import Bank this week after House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) position to reverse course and oppose the bill. They argue McCarthy’s shift is the latest example of the Tea Party taking over the GOP, something they also blame for an impasse on immigration reform.

The Export-Import Bank provides loans and loan guarantees to the companies investing overseas. The purpose of the financing is to boost U.S. exports and investments.

Hensarling and other opponents of Ex-Im argue it is a former of crony capitalism where the federal government gets to pick winners and losers.

He also said Ex-Im ends up supporting projects in countries such as China and Russia that are U.S. rivals in economic and foreign policy spheres.

“The taxpayer money goes overseas to China and Russia – nations that openly challenge our economic and security interests,” Hensarling said in his opening remarks. “The taxpayer money goes to oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The taxpayer money even goes to countries with a demonstrated history of atrocious human rights abuses like the Congo and the Sudan.”

He said Ex-Im was a “sweetheart deal” for politically-connect banks and companies since “taxpayers shoulder the risk and you get the reward.”

“But if you work at a small business or other American company competing in the global marketplace, it’s unfair. Ex-Im effectively taxes you while subsidizing your foreign competitors,” Hensarling said. “We hear a lot from powerful voices on K Street and Wall Street about the Bank, but we should also listen carefully to some voices from Main Street.”

Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson testified Wednesday about how the bank’s support for Boeing has led foreign competitors benefitting from the manufacturing of planes overseas to undercut Delta’s ticket prices.

Anderson didn’t call for the bank to be killed off, but he said it had to be reformed to restrict financing of “widebody aircraft” to state-owned or supported airlines. He also argued that Boeing can find financing in the private market.

“If we’re serious about creating jobs, this bank needs to be reformed,” Anderson said.

Waters said she was “dismayed” that McCarthy supported Ex-Im reauthorization in 2012, but he now opposes it.

“I’m saddened he has followed the lead of the extremists in an effort to show his Tea Party credentials,” Waters said.

6 posted on 06/25/2014 9:06:45 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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