There’s a new critic of the Export-Import Bank–President Barack Obama. In a 2008 speech, then-candidate Obama described the Ex-Im Bank as “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”
The Senate rejected reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, which provides financing to U.S. exporters to make sales that are viewed as too risky by private banks, last week in a 55-44 vote.
This year, Obama has urged business leaders to support Ex-Im against the Republican opposition to the renewal of the institution’s charter.
But in a 2008 campaign speech in Green Bay, Wis., Obama had a different take on the Ex-Im Bank:
OBAMA (2008): Now, listen, I’m not a Democrat that believes that we can or should defend every government program, just because it’s there. There’s some that don’t work like we had hoped. The Bush administration’s spent a billion dollars a year on a reading program that hasn’t improved our children’s reading. We should take that money and use it for things that work. There’s some programs that have been duplicated by other programs that we just need to cut back, like waste at the Economic Development Agency and the Export-Import Bank, that’s become little more than a fund for corporate welfare. I understand also there are parts of these programs that may be worth defending, and politicians of both parties will definitely do so, but if we hope to meet the challenges of our time, we have to make difficult choices. As president, I’ll go through the entire federal budget, page-by-page, line-by-line and I will eliminate the programs that do not work and are not needed so we can start providing funding for the programs that do work and are needed.
Last month, during the president’s visit to the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., Obama praised the Ex-Im Bank for its role in a Boeing deal:
OBAMA: So last November, when I was in Indonesia, Boeing announced a deal – with the help of the Export-Import Bank – to sell more than 200 planes to one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. Boeing is one of the largest exporters in the world. This is one of the biggest deals Boeing had ever done.