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The Export-Import Bank: Do not resuscitate

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Sunday, June 29, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Word of investigations targeting abuses to which the U.S. Export-Import Bank is all too susceptible strengthens the case against its reauthorization.

The bank, which provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance for U.S. exports, “has suspended or removed four officials in recent months amid investigations into allegations of graft and kickbacks, as well as attempts to steer federal contracts to favored companies,” The Hill newspaper reports. Set to expire Sept. 30 unless Congress acts, Ex-Im puts government in a business it has no business being in — distorting international trade via taxpayer-subsidized financing that benefits some of America's biggest, best connected corporations, including Boeing, Ford and General Electric. And with about 98 percent of U.S. exports not receiving the bank's aid, Ex-Im is far from necessary — and neither is taxpayers' obligation to make good if bank borrowers default.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., say they'll introduce a bill soon in the Democrat-controlled Senate for reauthorization, which the Obama administration supports. But in the GOP-controlled House, where the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 800 other business groups are demanding a reauthorization vote, there's no bill yet. Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, oppose reauthorization.

The Export-Import Bank is a winner-picking government purveyor of corporate wealthfare. Congress should treat it as such by letting it die.

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