Amash Hopes to Curb Political Cronyism with House Bill Ending Export-Import Bank

‘Instead of allowing businesses to compete in a free market, politicians pick winners and losers. Meanwhile, taxpayers assume the financial risk…’

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Justin Amash Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Justin Amash is gunning for the Export-Import Bank.

The Michigan Republican is known for his strong libertarian streak, and he’d like nothing more than to put what he calls America’s “crony bank” out of business—permanently.

The Ex–Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States government. It operates as a wholly government-owned corporation that “assists in financing and facilitating U.S. exports of goods and services.”

But according to Amash, the bank’s real purpose is to line the pockets of large, politically-connected companies that have no real need for taxpayer support. He cited aircraft giant Boeing in a statement.

“The Export–Import Bank is a prime example of Washington’s addiction to political cronyism,” Amash said this week when he announced the Export–Import Bank Termination Act of 2019, or H.R. 1910.

Five other GOP House members are co-sponsoring his bill, including Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is a founding member of the Freedom Caucus.

“Instead of allowing businesses to compete in a free market, politicians pick winners and losers. Meanwhile, taxpayers assume the financial risk for the bank’s federally backed loans while a few corporations pocket the profits,” said Amash.

The proposed legislation would phase out the Ex–Im Bank over three years, and eliminate billions of dollars in “corporate welfare,” which has the added effect of distorting the private trade finance market, Amash says.

“Export subsidies provide advantages to specific industries or businesses at the expense of their domestic competition, other sectors of the United States economy, and the public at large,” H.R. 1910 reads.

The bill also cites a 2012 nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office study, which shows a huge discrepancy between the supposed return-on-taxpayer-investment that the Ex-Im Bank says it delivers to the U.S. economy in exchange for its taxpayer-funded corporate subsidies, versus what it really returns.

The CBO found that it was actually “less than a tenth” than what the agency claims. The reason for the disparity is that the bank uses a “flawed methodology” to promote its success.