House Conservatives Oppose Export-Import Bank, Call It ‘Corporate Welfare’

Matt Cover | May 9, 2012 | 3:25pm EDT
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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

( – Several leading House conservatives said they would be voting against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank when it came up for a vote later Wednesday. When asked why, they said the bank was “corporate welfare.”

Speaking to reporters at the monthly Conversations with Conservatives roundtable on Capitol Hill Wednesday, several leading House conservatives raised their hands when asked if they were going to oppose renewing the Export-Import Bank.

Members that raise their hands were Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

When asked why they were voting against the bank, Jordan and Amash called it “corporate welfare.”

“I think it is corporate welfare,” Jordan said. “It’s a 40 percent increase in what I think all of us view as a skewing of the marketplace.”

The Export-Import Bank makes subsidized loans, loan guarantees, and sales insurance available to American exporters to help them sell their products overseas.

The bill would increase the bank’s portfolio limit by 40 percent to $140 billion in three tranches - $20 billion dollars immediately followed by a $10 billion increase in 2013 and another $10 billion increase in 2014, contingent on the bank keeping its default rate below two percent.

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It would also institute a number of reforms, including forcing the bank to publish quarterly reports on its business and to seek public comment before financing any deal worth more than $100 million.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said that Republicans should “get back to” believing in economic freedom instead of supporting things like the Export-Import Bank.

“It’s corporate welfare. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Republicans used to believe in economic freedom. Let’s get back to that.”

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