I’ve been very critical of the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank. Why do we need a financial institution backed by American taxpayers? There’s a school of thought that says the Ex-Im bank is vital to our private sector exports. It’s supposed to boost the ability of our small businesses to produce more exports to foreign markets but the banks operations are dominated by large corporations. I understand the concept of export credit agencies but we shouldn’t excel based on taxpayer-funded handicaps but rather because of superior products. And sadly, one would have thought the Export-Import Bank dead — guess again, and guess who could potentially profit from its resurrection?
As reported by The Federalist, “Voting to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank could allow floods of U.S. taxpayer money to reach Iran’s terrorist government. On October 9, 218 House lawmakers, including 42 Republicans, signed a discharge petition to bring the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization back from the dead. The petition, which Republicans initiated, has resulted in a scheduled October 26 vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, that 80-year-old relic from the days of the New Deal.
Conservative Republicans in both the House and Senate have opposed reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank, accusing it of crony capitalism, ongoing corruption, conflicts of interest, and accounting methods that hide the actual market risk of its loans (the risk that the loans won’t be paid back). Here’s another reason to question reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank: specific language in the Obama administration’s Iran deal that ends prohibitions on Ex-Im bank financing for sales to Iran, including sales to businesses the Iranian government owns.
The innocuous-sounding wording from the July 14 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action appears three times, in the General Provisions, Annex II, and Annex V: “Terminate Executive Orders 13574, 13590, 13622, and 13645, and Sections 5 – 7 and 15 of Executive Order 13628. Once the Iran deal goes into effect in early 2016, all five executive orders limiting Ex-Im Bank financing will be terminated. Without those executive orders, the Ex-Im Bank will have limited authority to block financing even for the businesses of Iran’s government and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the hundreds of IRGC front companies widely expected to benefit from the Iran deal.”
Ok, so let me comprehend this. Americans voted for the GOP to have the largest majorities in the House and Senate since World War II. Voters believed the GOP would make a principled, constitutional stand against the onslaught of the Obama administration and restore their enumerated power. And what have the American people got in this case? They used a procedural maneuver to placate the corporate business special interests — not all of course, as I wrote of the House Financial Services Chairman, Jeb Hansarling and his stand. But it appears that 42 Republicans in the House are joining with Democrats — who I thought were the party of the little guy — to support crony capitalism.
What is worse is that these 218 individuals are advancing the possibility that with the language of the JCPOA, five critical executive orders will be terminated and could enable Iran to receive American taxpayer funds. Not only are we looking at releasing $150 billion in frozen assets but there exists the potential — thanks to nebulous language in the JCPOA and complicity of Congress — to enable a future where financing of business with Iran could be backed by US taxpayer loan dollars.
“Prohibitions against certain U.S. companies doing business with Iran are expected to be lifted, including prohibitions against sales to the state-owned Iran Air, previously sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for transporting missiles, weapons, and rockets to Syria for the IRGC. Boeing and GE have been licensed to sell spare aircraft and engine parts to Iran Air since 2014. Future aircraft sales to Iran, specifically permitted by the Iran deal, are estimated at $20 billion, with Boeing favored as a supplier.
Boeing and GE have led the lobbying efforts to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. If they succeed, will Ex-Im then provide billions in financing to Iranian government-owned companies to buy Boeing aircraft and GE engines? The Iran deal clears the way with the termination of those five executive orders.”
You want to know why the JCPOA is a bad deal? Just read it and weep. Something tells me it wasn’t read by many folks on Capitol Hill. As a matter of fact, the vote on the resolution for disapproval never made it to the Senate floor, so why would the Senators read it? The Senate Democrats just complied with President Obama’s desire — 42 of them as it happens — the same number of Republican representatives supporting the Ex-Im bank.
The Export-Import Bank must not be reauthorized. It advances crony capitalism, provides an end-around for more financing for Iran, and allows U.S. companies like GE and Boeing to do business with the mad mullahs (note to self: dump their stock today).
Perhaps if we had a Speaker of the House who was indeed the voice of the American people and willing to stand against D.C. special interests, this vote wouldn’t be taking place, and we wouldn’t have six of the ten of the most lucrative counties in America surrounding Washington D.C.
During the next GOP presidential debate, I hope there will be at least one question regarding the Ex-Im bank. I’d like to see the ludicrous circular firing squad of the GOP presidential primary end and instead have a serious discussion about issues. You just have to ask, where are the adults?