What to expect in the Lame Duck: EximBank

Supporters of Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) failed to attach language changing the bank's quorum requirements, and thus get around Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby's block on appointing new members to the Eximbank board, thus making it impossible for the bank to approve new loans.

However, thanks to an amendment offered by Republican Representative Charles Dent (PA-15) to the State and Foreign Operations bill in the Appropriations Committee, supporters of Eximbank will have one more opportunity to change the bank's quorum requirements and keep the money flowing.

Veronique de Rugy explains:

Of course, the biggest Ex-Im beneficiaries, companies like Boeing with market caps above $82 billion, don’t like losing government handouts they have learned to count on even if they don’t need them. They have been lobbying hard to get their perk fully restored. Sadly, they always seem to find a Republican lawmaker or a hundred to oblige even though this reinforces the image of the GOP standing only loosely for free-market principles.

I will grant them that I didn’t see this coming. In order to restore full subsidy powers to Ex-Im, a group of Republicans have attached an amendment to a spending bill to allow the Bank to back big deals with only two board members:

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives, including Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, moved Tuesday to assist the embattled federally charted bank for U.S. exporters. The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to a funding bill that effectively will enable the bank to approve loans of more than $10 million again. The bank board, with only two members, has been unable to get a quorum of three members out of five positions – as required by its charter – in order to approve large loans.

The amendment in question was introduced by Representative Charles Dent of Pennsylvania and, worst of all, the rule was adopted by the full committee. Here is how it reads: Rep. Dent – The amendment modifies the quorum requirement for the Export-Import Bank Board through September 30, 2019. This is needed for the Bank to approve certain transactions as three of the five Board positions are currently vacant. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

There is a simple way to remove this provision from any approbations bill, but it requires House GOP to keep their word:

Speaker Ryan, call your office! Seriously, in the last month, with great fanfare, Paul Ryan told us that the old way of doing business by violating the House rules and allowing problematic provisions to be snuck through without a vote and attached to a funding bill was over. In fact, in a document called “A Better Way,” the House claimed it would commit to “not business as usual” and to abiding by the rules and by this little document called the Constitution of the United States. Here is is on page 17 on this document:

Another useful legislative tool is the Armey Protocol, which allows the chair of the committee of primary jurisdiction to request that the Rules Committee leave a specified provision in an appropriations bill exposed to a point of order under clause 2 of rule XXI (unauthorized appropriations or legislating).

If the Rules Committee leaves such a provision exposed to appoint of order on the House floor, any Member may raise the point of order and, up on a ruling by the Chair, strike the provision from the bill without a vote.

Because of the collaborative relationship between the   Appropriations Committee and authorizers, which has substantially improved in recent years, the Armey Protocol has only been invoked 13 times since the beginning of the 112th Congress. The Armey Protocol allows the Rules Committee to ensure that the jurisdictions of House committees are respected, while also allowing important legislative initiatives to proceed. With the growing interest in reducing the number of unauthorized programs,

Members should work closely with the committee chairs to address their concerns. The Congress as a whole, and the House in particular, must rededicate itself to renewing authorizing legislation that allows programs to continue.

This amendment clearly legislates changes to the law that are unrelated to the scope of an appropriations bill. As such, this is a clear and direct violation of rule XXI which the Speaker just rededicated the House to respecting.  The bottom line is that it looks that not all of the House committees under Ryan’s watch agree with his vision.

Now, what happens if the Rules Committee doesn’t respect the Armey Protocol? It will likely be heading into an omnibus bill, which means that this particular funding bill will never get any floor time.

And that’s where, once again, Chairman Shelby becomes a key player in the fight against cronyism. ​As someone explained to me recently, the only way this provision makes it into an omnibus is if Senator McConnell cut Senator Shelby out of the negotiations on the Omnibus. My friend adds, “This would be the leader using his privilege to overrule the chairman of the committee who has directly chosen not to act on this issue.”

Read the whole article here.

Campaign for Liberty members who oppose crony capitalism should call their Representatives and Senators and tell them to oppose any "riders" added to any spending bills considered in the lame duck that allows Eximbank to resume forcing taxpayers to underwrite A "loans" to big corporations and corrupt foreign governments.

Here is Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's column explaining why EximBank is corporate welfare for the one percent:

This month Congress will consider whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank is a New Deal-era federal program that uses taxpayer funds to subsidize the exports of American businesses. Foreign businesses, including state-owned corporations, also benefit from Ex-Im Bank. One country that has benefited from $1.5 billion of Ex-Im Bank loans is Russia. Venezuela, Pakistan, and China have also benefited from Ex-Im Bank loans.

With Ex-Im Bank’s track record of supporting countries that supposedly represent a threat to the US, one might expect neoconservatives, hawkish liberals, and other supporters of foreign intervention to be leading the effort to kill Ex-Im Bank. Yet, in an act of hypocrisy remarkable even by DC standards, many hawkish politicians, journalists, and foreign policy experts oppose ending Ex-Im Bank.

This seeming contradiction may be explained by the fact that Ex-Im Bank’s primary beneficiaries include some of America’s biggest and most politically powerful corporations. Many of Ex-Im Bank’s beneficiaries are also part of the industrial half of the military-industrial complex. These corporations are also major funders of think tanks and publications promoting an interventionist foreign policy.

Ex-Im Bank apologists claim that the bank primarily benefits small business. A look at the facts tells a different story. For example, in fiscal year 2014, 70 percent of the loans guaranteed by Ex-Im Bank’s largest program went to Caterpillar, which is hardly a small business.

Boeing, which is also no one’s idea of a small business, is the leading recipient of Ex-Im Bank aid. In fiscal year 2014 alone, Ex-Im Bank devoted 40 percent of its budget — $8.1 billion — to projects aiding Boeing. No wonder Ex-Im Bank is often called “Boeing’s bank.”

Taking money from working Americans, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to subsidize the exports of large corporations is the most indefensible form of redistribution. Yet many who criticize welfare for the poor on moral and constitutional grounds do not raise any objections to welfare for the rich.

Ex-Im Bank’s supporters claim that ending Ex-Im Bank would deprive Americans of all the jobs and economic growth created by the recipients of Ex-Im Bank aid. This claim is a version of the economic fallacy of that which is not seen. The products exported and the people employed by businesses benefiting from Ex-Im Bank are visible to all. But what is not seen are the products that would have been manufactured, the businesses that would have been started, and the jobs that would have been created had the funds given to Ex-Im Bank been left in the hands of consumers.

Another flawed justification for Ex-Im Bank is that it funds projects that could not attract private sector funding. This is true, but it is actually an argument for shutting down Ex-Im Bank. By funding projects that cannot obtain funding from private investors, Ex-Im Bank causes an inefficient allocation of scarce resources. These inefficiencies distort the market and reduce the average American's standard of living.

Some Ex-Im Bank supporters claim that Ex-Im Bank promotes free trade. Like all other defenses of Ex-Im Bank, this claim is rooted in economic fallacy. True free trade involves the peaceful, voluntary exchange of goods across borders — not forcing taxpayers to subsidize the exports of politically powerful companies.

Ex-Im Bank distorts the market and reduces the average American's standard of living in order to increase the power of government and enrich politically powerful corporations. Congress should resist pressure from the crony capitalist lobby and allow Ex-Im Bank's charter to expire at the end of the month. Shutting down Ex-Im Bank would improve our economy and benefit most Americans. It is time to kick Boeing and all other corporate welfare queens off the dole.

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Tags: , ,