For over 1,000 days, the Export-Import Bank has been prohibited from financing loans in excess of $10 million because it has been operating without a quorum on the Board of Directors. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP Senate Majority should be commended for resisting voting on nominations to Ex-Im Board of Directors. Had a quorum existed on the Ex-Im Board of Directors, U.S. taxpayers could have financed the sale of the faulty and doomed Boeing 737 Max 8 jets to Indonesia and Ethiopia that crashed. We know both Indonesia and Ethiopia previously bought Boeing 737’s before the Ex-Im Board lost its quorum and ability to finance deals in excess of $10 million, but it is not clear whether any of those 737’s were the 737 Max 8 model.
Five years ago, Ex-Im’s supporters predicted the inability to finance large loans to major corporations through the Ex-Im Bank would cause disruptions in productivity for major corporations like Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar due to a lack of available private financing. They also warned that without Ex-Im’s financing, these corporations could endure corporate catastrophe in the financial markets for investors, causing major layoffs in the workforce and setting up a government crisis for policymakers to bail out too-big-to-fail corporations.
The actual result was nowhere close. In fact, the major corporations that previously obtained financing from Ex-Im have continued to find financing through the private market. They have not lost a competitive edge in the global markets simply because they’re not financing on the backs of the U.S. taxpayer.
In the coming months, Congress will consider whether to pass a new reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. While Ex-Im isn’t sending corporate welfare to the big fish, it continues to put U.S. taxpayers at risk with smaller loans to smaller corporations and businesses when the private market could suffice. A dollar of corporate welfare is still corporate welfare, and policymakers on the right and left should agree that corporate welfare is not a role of the U.S. government.
It’s time to end the Export-Import Bank once and for all. Club for Growth encourages all Members of Congress to oppose its reauthorization and let Ex-Im’s charter expire.