In an unusual Sunday night session, the Senate voted 67-26 to move forward with the attachment of an amendment to the Highway Trust Fund bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of America, which expired June 30. The undisputed poster child of crony capitalism, Ex-Im is behind numerous taxpayer-funded loans and guarantees given to corporations to fund and insure foreign companies’ purchase of U.S. products. Unsurprisingly, many of these million dollar loans have defaulted or have gone to complete waste, leaving taxpayers in the red.
While supporters of the bank claim the reauthorization of Ex-Im will save jobs, the reality of the matter is that Ex-Im never created jobs in the first place. Supporters also mention that Ex-Im helps small businesses. Wrong again. Ex-Im picks and chooses politically connected corporations to loan billions of dollars to, leaving a measly 2 percent of Ex-Im’s funds going to small businesses.
The language of this amendment, expected to be voted on later today, will extend the charter of the Ex-Im Bank for another four years. The banks lending cap will be lowered to $135 billion, still a large sum of money when taxpayers are asked to foot the bill. The amendment is also sure to mention that Ex-Im loans will now increase the percentage of small businesses they assist to a whopping 25 percent. Interesting, considering the bank already claims they help an impressive 90 percent of small businesses.
It’s predicted that a final vote on this bill will take place on Thursday, the deadline for the Highway Trust Fund’s authorization. With heavy support in the Senate, hope lies in the members of the House to strike down this amendment which so clearly supports corporate welfare and the revival of an outdated relic needed to be put to rest for good.