WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - Critics of the U.S. Export-Import Bank o n W ednesday enlisted one of the bank’s biggest supporters, President Barack Obama, in their campaign to end the nearly 80-year-old government institution.
The conservative Republican group Club for Growth distributed a video clip from Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in which he described the bank as the type of government program he would curtail.
“There are 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 has become little more than a fund for corporate welfare,” Obama said at the campaign event.
Click on this link to watch the video.
Since then, Obama has touted the Eximbank as key to his administration’s goal of doubling exports and spoke two years ago at the bank’s annual convention.
The Obama administration is currently seeking a four-year renewal of the bank’s charter and wants to raise its credit exposure ceiling to $140 billion, from $100 billion currently.
The bank provides loans and credit guarantees to help Boeing , its biggest customer, and many other U.S. manufacturers make sales in markets that private banks consider too risky to operate in without U.S. government backing.
China, Canada, France, Brazil and many other countries have similar government export credit agencies.
Defenders argue the bank is conservatively run, has experienced very few defaults and makes money for the government. But critics say it is an unnecessary government intrusion in the market and puts taxpayer funds at risk.
The clash has prevented an agreement on renewing the bank’s charter, which expires May 31st.
In addition, the bank could reach its $100 billion credit ceiling as early as May 1st, forcing it to at least temporarily stop making new loans.
Lawmakers are expected to take up the issue again in late April, when they returned from a two-week recess.