Update: Last night, the House moved forward with its discharge petition to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank for five years. A minority of Republicans joined with Nancy Pelosi’s liberal coalition to force the vote in defiance of both GOP leadership and House conservatives.
The US House of Representatives will soon vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank despite the objection of key Congressional leaders including House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Pro Ex-Im members of Congress are utilizing a rarely used procedural tactic that bypasses the Committee process and regular order, and gives power back to the Democrat minority.
While the bank may have once been important to protecting American business, today it has been reduced to nothing more than a taxpayer-funded slush fund amid countless cases of waste, fraud, and abuse.
Time and time again, Ex-Im has been tied to cases of fraud and corruption, resulting in countless indictments and millions in lost taxpayer funds. Most recently, the bank contributed millions to a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a Miami small business. In fact, in the past six years alone, the Ex-Im Bank has been involved in numerous scandals culminating in 85 criminal indictments, 48 criminal judgments, and over $250 million in fines, restitution, and forfeiture.
Worse still, it is estimated that the bank’s reckless loans could cost taxpayers as much as $2 billion in the next ten years.
When the bank expired back in June, supporters attempted to tie reauthorization to must-pass, unrelated highway funding legislation in the Senate. Despite these efforts, the House held firm and took up clean highway funding. Since then, supporters of the bank have undertaken a campaign to reauthorize the bank, relying on scare tactics that link Ex-Im to small businesses.
Supporters of the Ex-Im bank claim that it supports small business, however it defines a small business as having 1,500 employees or less. This definition is generous at best — most government agencies define a small business as one-third that size, just 500 employees.
Using more accurate statistics demonstrates that the bank’s impact is far more limited than supporters claim. According to White House data analyzed by Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center, Ex-Im supports just 0.28 percent of small businesses and just 0.42 percent of total exports.
The Ex-Im Bank no longer serves its original purpose of helping small businesses. Congress must protect taxpayer dollars and refuse to reauthorize Ex-Im.