The Corner

Economy & Business

Banking Chairman Shelby Tells McConnell He Won’t Help Crony Ex-Im Bank Regain Its Ability to Lend to Boeing

How many examples does it take for one’s action to tell us all we really need to know about one’s true beliefs? In this case, the question is how many times does Majority Leader McConnell needs to effectively side with those who want to renew or restore the Ex-Im Bank’s lending authority before we conclude that he may not be as against the crony program as much as he says. That’s what Banking Chairman Richard Shelby wonders. Bloomberg reports:

Conservatives’ efforts to cripple the U.S. Export-Import Bank are now pitting two powerful Republicans against each other: Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Shelby on Thursday defied McConnell’s call to advance a nominee to the board of the Ex-Im Bank, a key financing tool for Boeing Co. and other major exporters.

“It’s corporate welfare,” said Shelby, an Alabama Republican, who said he would tell McConnell the same thing. Although McConnell is also an opponent of the bank, on Tuesday he called on Shelby to allow the nominee to get a vote on the Senate floor.

“Well, he says he’s against it, but I don’t know. I’m against it. You know, we’re not going to be moving it out of committee, OK?” Shelby told reporters in the Capitol.

McConnell’s defense of his position is based on process and honoring the will of the majority even against one’s own beliefs. It may sound selfless but I think this time around, like the last time, the excuse doesn’t really hold water. It’s this type of behavior that explains why people are so disillusioned with the leadership. After all, the pro Ex-Im majority that McConnell is talking about is mostly made up of Democrats. In fact, a majority of the majority in the Senate was against Ex-Im at the time of its reauthorization.

Look who are the big voices for Ex-Im in this article:

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington said she isn’t giving up…

She and fellow Washington Democrat Patty Murray in February said the delay in approving another director for the board had stalled a pipeline of more than $10 billion in financing deals.

And last week Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew called the confirmation a priority.

That’s in addition to the beneficiaries’ call for Shelby to act.

Here is a good summary about McConnell’s fight with Senator Cruz over Ex-Im last summer. The fight was about an unnecessary move by McConnell that ultimately led to the reauthorization of Ex-Im once the House decided to go full crony on us. These are painful memories. 

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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