Ex-Im Bank under Fire at Contentious House Hearing; Reviving Free-Trade Agreements Would Revive the Economy
Byline: Chloe Johnson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
With the fate of the U.S. Export-Import Bank possibly hanging in the balance, a key House Republican stepped up his attack on the bank, saying it was actually hurting small business and giving undue subsidies to large corporations during an occasionally contentious daylong hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling's opening comments included a slide show of American workers as he attacked what he called the "crony capitalism" of the bank, saying that the financing it offers big U.S. exporters hurts domestic competitors.
"Who benefits? Undeniably and indisputably, some of the largest, richest and most politically-connected corporations in the world," the Texas Republican argued.
The hearing comes as the Ex-Im Bank faces a Sept. 30 deadline to secure congressional authorization to engage in new lending, with the House GOP majority bitterly divided over whether to hold a reauthorization vote this summer. Mr. Hensarling, incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and large numbers of conservative members argue it's time to pull the plug on the bank.
California Rep. Maxine Waters, the ranking Democrat on the committee, criticized the sharpness of Mr. Hensarling's assessment of the bank and called the Ex-Im a force for creating and sustaining business in America.
"This hearing is not going to be a forthright discussion on the merits of the bank. Mr. Chairman, we know your position," Ms. Waters said. The majority of those testifying before the panel seemed to lean toward Mr. Hensarling's view.
Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, asserted that the bank, which is sometimes called "Boeing's Bank" for the amount of exports it helps the aerospace giant structure deal to foreign carriers, is helping foreign competition get aircraft under more favorable terms and, as a result, endangering Delta jobs.
"This is about putting safeguards in place so [Congress] is not choosing which companies win and which companies loose," Mr. Anderson said.
But Ex-Im Bank President Fred Hochberg argued the bank filled a crucial role that private lenders would not in helping U. …