The Export-Import Bank made official a request to renew its charter for five more years, prompting one leading conservative to speak out against reauthorization and increasing the bank’s lending limit.
House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) called the plan a “bad idea.”
“In many respects, it’s the face of cronyism,” Hensarling said in a statement. “So I was surprised, but not shocked, to see the bank ask Congress to raise its lending cap by $20 billion, to $160 billion. Only in Washington can a taxpayer-subsidized program whose only purpose is to pick winners and losers ‘fail upward’ by requesting more money.”
Hensarling said the Export-Import Banks puts taxpayer money at risk, citing a report from the agency’s own inspector general. That report warned that the bank’s “current risk management framework and governance structure are not commensurate with the size, scope, and strategic ambitions of the institution.”
At its annual conference in Washington last week, Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg chastised critics for failing to recognize the bank’s work related to exports and jobs.
“It’s now in the hands of Congress to review it, debate it, and vote to recharter us so that we give U.S. exporters and their workers and their customers the confidence and security and we are there as a backstop,” Hochberg said in an interview with Reuters.
Hochberg dismissed critics as a “vocal minority,” and predicted the bank’s charter would be renewed.
The House Financial Services Committee is expected to hold a hearing in coming months on reauthorization and the bank’s operations.