GOP candidates

On June 30, the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) will expire. The bank, which purportedly exists to assist American exporters, has come under scrutiny because of countless cases of waste, fraud, and abuse. The bank does not serve the best interests of American exporters, and the overwhelmingly majority of its loans go to a select few well-connected businesses that can compete with or without Ex-Im.

With the 2016 election fast approaching, many presidential candidates have spoken out against this wasteful institution, while others remain determined to retain the status quo of crony capitalism even as the bank’s functions have been called into question.

As ATR, and others including AEI’s Tim Carney have noted, Hillary Clinton is a strong supporter of the bank. In her own words: “I’d like to put Ex-Im Bank On Steroids.”

In contrast, many declared GOP presidential candidates oppose Ex-Im, with the notable exceptions being Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum, who support the bank. See where the candidates stand below:

Marco Rubio: “I don’t believe taxpayer money should be used as corporate welfare.”
Senator Rubio (R-Fla.) has been consistent in his opposition to ending Ex-Im. Rubio characterizes it as an unnecessary institution that picks winners and losers and he voted against the bank’s reauthorization in 2012.

Rick Perry“The best way to mend Ex-Im is to end it.”
In an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal, Perry said he can no longer justify supporting it amid “deeply disturbing” revelations of corruption and bribery within the bank.  

Rand Paul“The American people know corporate welfare when they see it”
Senator Paul, like many of his fellow Presidential hopefuls is opposed to renewing Ex-Im. Paul has argued that loans to Solyndra, Brightstone and numerous Fortune 500 companies prove that the bank is not working in the best interests of the American people.

Lindsey Graham: “I want a vote on the bank to be reauthorized.” 
Unlike his fellow GOP candidates, Senator Graham (R-S.C.) unreservedly supports the Ex-Im bank, recently saying there is “no way in hell” he would let the bank shut down. His unwavering support for the bank, even as controversy after controversy piles up aligns him firmly with Hillary Clinton as a supporter of crony capitalism.

Carly Fiorina: If we’re serious about stopping cronyism, we must do away with Ex-Im.”
 As Fiorina has said, Ex-Im is a vehicle of corporate welfare that picks winners and losers.

Ted Cruz: “The Export-Import Bank operates outside of commonsense.”
Senator Cruz has been vocal in his opposition to Ex-Im, describing it as “big businesses’ big-government bank backed by US taxpayers.”

Jeb Bush: “We should find ways to lessen the contingent liability of the federal government.”
Governor Bush has called for the bank’s charter to expire saying that, “most of these things should be phased out.”

Rick Santorum: “I think it’s a mistake for us to be out there focused on the Export-Import Bank.”
Santorum, like Graham supports the Ex-Im bank despite the numerous controversies over its loans. As recently as 2014, Santorum criticized efforts to end the bank arguing it would be “tying the hands of our manufacturers.”