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My Vote On The Export-Import Bank

May 16, 2012 | Blog

On Tuesday, I voted against funding the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. Taxpayer money should not be used as corporate welfare.  Instead, we should focus on negotiating free trade agreements with other countries to benefit all U.S. industries and businesses.

I understand some in Florida will be disappointed in my vote as our state receives the second largest amount of money from the Ex-Im Bank, but Florida can also benefit from increased trade.  Without serious reforms, the Ex-Im Bank will continue to work as corporate welfare and impede our progress toward freer trade all around the world. The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to the free market, and it should not be using taxpayer money to pay large corporations to conduct business overseas.

When Ex-Im Bank legislation came up, I supported a series of amendments to improve its operations.  These included:

  • Lee Amendment #2100: This would have phased out the Ex-Im Bank by 2013 and required the President to negotiate multilateral agreements with other countries who provide export financing.
  • Paul Amendment #2101: This would have prohibited the Ex-Im Bank from financing projects in countries that hold debt instruments of the United States.
  • Corker Amendment #2102: This would have prohibited the Ex-Im Bank from financing projects if private financing is available for the projects.
  • Vitter Amendment #2103: This would have prohibited the Ex-Im Bank from financing fossil fuel projects in other countries if there are similar projects in the United States.  It also would have prohibited loans from the Bank from being subordinate.
  • Toomey Amendment #2104: This would have allowed for an increase in the credit cap to $120 billion of the Ex-Im Bank only after negotiations on eliminating export financing in other countries have been initiated.  It also would have allowed for an additional increase in the credit cap to $140 billion only after a  multilateral agreement has been reached and there is a deal with Congress to end the Bank.

Unfortunately, these amendments were not accepted and, without an accountable movement toward trade reform, I could not support funding for the Ex-Im Bank.