Conservative free marketeers scored a major victory on Wednesday evening by preventing the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank from being re-authorized. Once an important tool for American exports, the Ex-Im Bank is now nothing more than America’s poster child for corporate welfare.
Sunday night, the Senate voted 67-26 to attach an amendment to the “must pass” Highway Trust Fund bill that would reauthorize Ex-Im for another four years. This desperate attempt to revive the bank came after Congress decided to do nothing and let Ex-Im’s charter expire on June 30.
In recent years, public opinion on the Bank has plummeted while opposition to Ex-Im in the Senate has doubled. Ex-Im has become notorious for its ties to crony capitalism, fraud and corruption, and has been behind numerous wasteful taxpayer-backed loans, including a $2 million loan to a fraudulent Florida-based small business conducting a Ponzi-scheme.
The House chose not to take up Highway Trust Fund bill from the Senate, leaving no choice but to force Senators to pass a short term, three month extension for highway funding, without Ex-Im’s amendment attached.
For now, Ex-Im will lie in its grave, with no hope of resurrection until September. The thousands of lost jobs that supporters of the bank warned of has not eventuated. In fact, beneficiaries of the bank will be able to continue their businesses unaffected through private sector loans.
There is no doubt supporters will stop at nothing to reauthorize the bank. But the fact is, American businesses do not need this New Deal relic any longer. For each day that Congress resists re-authorizing Ex-Im, businesses and taxpayers will realize they are better off without this icon of crony capitalism and corporate welfare.