Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Where the Presidential Candidates Stand
Both houses of the United States Congress have voted to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank in recent months, yet its future is still not assured.
That’s because the legislation was attached to other measures in each chamber, and those bills must be reconciled and voted upon jointly before EXIM’s revival reaches the president’s desk for his signature.
EXIM has been in limbo since July 1, when Congress failed to extend its charter.
EXIM’s opponents disparage the bank as a form of corporate welfare, in particularly for helping major corporations like Boeing to sell aircraft and other products overseas. Supporters say that many other countries use similar agencies to support their companies in the global markets and that many U.S. jobs are linked to global trade backed by EXIM loans.
All of the senators running for president, other than Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), are in favor of killing off EXIM. Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, also favors funding for EXIM.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been leading the charge in the Senate to eliminate EXIM. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against reauthorizing the bank’s charter in recent Senate votes. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) didn’t vote on those measures but is on the record as vociferously opposing EXIM’s continued existence.
Rubio, on his campaign website, described EXIM as a “New Deal-era subsidized bank, which dished the lion’s share of its loans to huge corporations that didn’t need the help.” “Subsidizing exports isn’t a path to job creation or long-term economic competitiveness,” Rubio added. “EXIM was a bad idea all along.”
Sanders, who describes himself as a Democratic Socialist, holds similar views as his conservative colleagues. “We should not be providing corporate welfare to multi-national corporations through the Export-Import Bank,” says his campaign website. “We should be investing in small businesses and worker-owned enterprises that want to create jobs in the United States of America. If the Export-Import Bank cannot be reformed to become a vehicle for real job creation in the United States, it should be eliminated.”
John Kasich and Carly Fiorina both deride EXIM as vehicles of crony capitalism. “I don’t like the idea that if the private banks cannot make loans, that therefore the government ought to make them,” Kasich told the Charleston Post and Courier. “The big guys always want freebies.”
The Export-Import Bank is “primarily a marriage between big government and a few big businesses,” Fiorina wrote on Facebook. “If we’re serious about stopping cronyism, we must do away with EXIM.”
Jeb Bush has come out against EXIM, a surprise move for presumed choice of the business wing of the Republican Party and one who benefited from EXIM largesse in his own business dealings. “I think most of these things should be phased out,” Bush was quoted as saying last summer.
In 1992, Bush was involved in a partnership that sold water pumps overseas. The partnership’s most successful deal, an agreement to sell pumps to Nigeria, was financed with $74.3 million from EXIM.
Ben Carson and Donald Trump have not taken positions on EXIM.
Democrats Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley differ from rival Bernie Sanders in their support for EXIM.
O`Malley signed a letter to members of Congress urging EXIM’s reauthorization, calling it “a vital export finance tool for exporters in our states, at no cost to American taxpayers.”
Clinton has described renewing EXIM as a “no-brainer.” “There are people in Washington against it,” Clinton was quoted by news organizations as saying, “and that makes absolutely no sense.”