It’s hard to be a proud Republican these days. The party of limited government has capitulated to a plethora of Obama’s big government demands, while achieving no conservative victories of their own.
Yet, it’s one thing to surrender to Obama. But it’s an entirely different thing when the Republican party actively seeks to promote their own big government, cronyist agenda.
Once again, the Republican establishment is up to its old antics.
Congressional Republicans are now attempting to strip any role Congress has in stymieing the operations of the big business, lobbyist-loving, taxpayer-funded Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im).
The Ex-Im Bank is an independent government agency that provides taxpayer-backed loans and insurance to foreign businesses that seek to purchase American products. Yet, most of the loans protect goods purchased from the largest, and wealthiest, U.S. businesses.
A Mercatus Center study finds that at least 76 percent of the billions of dollars in financial assistance ends up with companies like Boeing, General Electric, Applied Materials, and Caterpillar. These are multibillion dollar companies that should not be supported by the taxpayer.
Last year, conservatives were successful in temporarily allowing the bank’s charter to lapse. However, that victory was short-lived when five months later the Republican establishment renewed the charter by forcing it into the “must-pass” highway funding bill.
Still, conservatives had one more trick up their sleeve.
Although the bank returned to operations, it was able to do so only partially. It still faced another problem: the bank’s charter requires a quorum of at least three board members to vote on any deals in excess of $10 million. But the board currently only has two members; the third board member, an Obama nominee, is currently help up in the Senate.
Without the necessary board members, the Ex-Im Bank is seriously curtailed. According to the Financial Times, more than two-thirds of the loan money provided by the Bank cannot be spent without at least three members on the board; thus, the Bank can do very little.
The conservative hero responsible for delaying this nomination is Republican Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala. (C, 70%). Shelby chairs the Senate Banking Committee, that has jurisdiction over the bank and the nomination process. So far, Shelby, who opposes the mission of the Ex-Im Bank, and refused to process the nomination to fill the third seat on its board, is the only one doing anything to attempt to stop this from going forward.
As usual, every battle fought by conservatives seems to be met with a more ruthless counterattack by the Republican establishment. That brings us to the latest attempt to crush this conservative cause …
Originally, I raised the concern that Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (F, 44%) may attempt to bypass Shelby’s committee altogether and bring the nominee up for a vote on the Senate floor. While that hasn’t transpired (yet!), there is a more deceptive plan in the works.
On Tuesday, the House Appropriation Committee debated the annual State and Foreign Operations spending bill. In doing so, Republican amendments were considered. One amendment that was considered, and passed, was an amendment by Republican Charlie Dent, R-Pa. (F, 30%).
Dent’s amendment actually modifies the Ex-Im Bank’s charter by doing away with the need for a board to approve any financial transactions larger than $10 million, through September 2019. This effectively removes the important oversight and accountability at the Bank by simply scuttling the need for the board to be involved in the Bank’s actions.
That’s just how desperate Republicans are to re-instate their corporate cronyism. Why fight a nominee when you can just legislate his importance at the bank out of existence? This is cronyism on steroids.
That’s the pathetic nature of the Republican Party today. This is the party that we’ve become: a party that no longer believes in the spirit of political debate, or the adherence to their own process or principles. It’s a party that simply doesn’t recognize the voices of its own members, and would rather legislate away the tools and rights of those members than listen to them. This is the state of our party – and it’s certainly nothing to celebrate. (For more from the author of “Unreal: The GOP Establishment Resurrects Crony Ex-Im Bank” please click HERE)