As Congress approaches a June 30 expiration date on the Export-Import Bank, more than 50 conservative groups wrote to lawmakers Tuesday urging them to oppose its reauthorization.
"On behalf of our groups and organizations, together representing millions of Americans, we urge you to oppose the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank," the letter begins. "It unfairly hurts domestic companies and risks billions of taxpayer dollars." The letter, signed by Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, among others, argues that by subsidizing U.S. exports, the Ex-Im Bank "tilts the playing field" in favor of big, politically connected corporations.
The letter also cites a 2014 "fair-value accounting" calculation from the Congressional Budget Office that the bank would cost $2 billion over the next decade.
Many Ex-Im proponents note there could be a positive overall economic effect when considering the impact on manufacturing. But the letter posits that the Ex-Im Bank's "risky loans and poor accounting practices" are harmful to taxpayers, who are left footing the bill.
"America deserves an international trade policy that is based on free-market mechanisms, not paying foreign companies to buy exports from large corporations with political connections," the letter concludes.
The bank is shaping up to be a contentious issue in the House in coming weeks. Congress has traditionally kept Ex-Im in business, despite long-stated frustrations, but many conservatives, led by Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, are pushing to let the bank's charter expire .
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had signaled he opposed reauthorization. But there have been recent reports he may be changing his mind .
The bank is hosting its annual conference Wednesday, and Tuesday's letter opposing Ex-Im seems to be a direct response to the bank's lobbying efforts.
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