Rand Paul on the Ex-Im Bank

On Thursday, Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to vote against reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.

Video and transcript below:


The ordinary middle-class family is struggling to get a home loan. Tens of thousands of homeowners have lost their homes or are struggling to make payments on their home loans. Meanwhile, Congress steadily dishes out billions of dollars in taxpayer-subsidized loans to large, profitable companies. Eighty percent of these loans, these Export-Import loans, are given to companies that are in the Fortune 500. So we’re giving taxpayer loans to very profitable companies.

I’m a great believer in capitalism, in the jobs that corporations create. I defend profit and the benefit that accrues from leaving that profit large any in the private sector. I’m not one who clamors for punitive taxes, I’m not someone who thinks we need to punish corporations, but at the same time don’t construe that to mean that I believe we should be subsidizing profitable corporations.

I don’t think taxpayer-subsidized loans should go to profitable companies. Now, President Obama has been passing out loans to his campaign donors. He’s been using a campaign trough that he has set up over at the Department of Energy.

Very wealthy multimillionaires and billionaires are getting loans through the Department of Energy; Solyndra, Brightsource, people heavily involved in the President’s campaign have been getting subsidized loans. Republicans have been rightly criticizing the President for these loans, for these Department of Energy loans; to Solyndra, Brightsource and others.

Republicans have been correct in criticizing the President for trying to pick the winners and losers in the energy production. Yet now a majority of the Republicans are poised to vote for their own set of taxpayer-subsidized loans through the Export-Import bank.

In fact, they want to increase the Export-Import loans by nearly 50 percent and pick the winners and losers now in the export business. The horse traders may disdain consistency, but the American people value principled and consistent opposition to deficit financing.

The American people know hypocrisy when they see it. The American people know corporate welfare when they see it. The Export-Import bank in fact provided an $18 million to a steel mill in China. Our steel industry has been in decline for decades, and I would loan $18 million to our competitors?

Who in their right mind would subsidize our Chinese competitors with loans? It makes no sense. Can you think of anything more insulting than loaning money to our competitors? Well, come to think of it, I might. We actually give foreign aid to china. We actually send china economic development assistance. Is it any wonder that Congress has an 11 percent approval rating?

Many Americans are trying to hang on to their homes, struggling to make their payments on their own home mortgage, while very profitable big business is being given subsidized loans by the government. It makes no sense. What gives?

To add insult to injury, we are borrowing money from the same countries that we are lending the money to. So we borrow money from India, because I would run a deficit of the over $1 trillion a year, we borrow known from India and then we’re sending it back to them in the form of taxpayer-subsidized loans. It makes no sense.

Ex-Im loans like the loans to Solyndra and Brightsource are simply forms of crony capitalism. With trillion-dollar annual deficits, surely we can vote to end corporate welfare. If companies are making billions of dollars in profit, can we at least end the welfare that we’re sending to these corporations?

I urge a vote against reauthorizing the Ex-Im bank, and I hope my Republican colleagues will see the inconsistency of criticizing the President on one hand for his capitalism and then turning around and doing the same thing.

So I support not reauthorizing the Export-Import bank, admitting it is corporate welfare and trying to save the taxpayers some of their hard-earned money. Thank you Mr. President and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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