Perry Ex-Im Opposition Brings Near Unanimity to GOP Field

Rick Perry
Rick Perry / AP

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday called for an end to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, making him the ninth declared or potential Republican presidential candidate to do so.

Funding for the bank expires on June 30. Republicans in Congress are debating whether to reform the agency or to let it wither.

In a Wall Street Journal column, Perry, a former Ex-Im supporter, said recent allegations of bribery and corruption at the agency convinced him that it needs to go.

Those at Ex-Im who have abused the public trust must be pursued to the full extent of the law. But it may be that the best way to mend Ex-Im is to end it. […]

The problem is this: We won’t have the moral credibility to reduce corporate taxes if we continue to subsidize corporate exports for corporations that already enjoy low effective tax rates, like General Electric and Boeing. We won’t have the moral credibility to reform government programs that benefit future retirees if we don’t first reform government programs that benefit big businesses like Caterpillar. We won’t be able to give businesses more regulatory latitude if we continue to operate a government bank with an emerging record of corporate corruption.

And that is why the time has come to end the Export-Import Bank. We can’t let Ex-Im get in the way of reforms that would expand opportunity for all Americans.

Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney, a prominent Ex-Im critic, hailed the emerging "unanimity" on the issue among Republican presidential contenders.

We already had Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, and John Kasich on the record against the Export-Import Bank. The only 2016 presidential candidate on the record supporting the agency, which subsidizes U.S. exports through taxpayer-backed financing to foreign companies, was Rick Perry.

Perry, when he was the Texas governor, had signed a letter with 28 other governors calling on Congress to reauthorize the agency. Chris Christie didn't sign the letter.

That makes it a big deal that Perry has converted to the free-market position.