- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2015

They have made their point clear: 56 free-market organizations - from Americans for Prosperity to Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform - have spoken out against reauthorization of Export-Import Bank.

“By paying foreign companies to buy American exports, the Export-Import Bank tilts the playing field away from mid-sized and small businesses in favor of large, politically connected corporations,” the coalition says in an open letter, noting that the Ex-Im could ultimately cost tax payers.

“Not only does the Export-Import bank interfere with the free market, it also jeopardizes billions of taxpayer dollars. According to a 2014 report from the Congressional Budget Office the bank will costs taxpayers $2 billion over the next decade despite claims that it pays for itself. This discrepancy is because the bank does not use fair-value accounting, a method widely used by private finance organizations. These risky loans and poor accounting practices are harmful to taxpayers, who are left footing the bill,” the letter states.

“America deserves an international trade policy that is based on free market mechanisms, not paying foreign companies to buy exports from large corporations with political connections,” the organizations conclude.

Sen. Marco Rubio agrees with them, and will join Americans for Prosperity CEO Luke Hilgermann and vice president Brent Gardner for a press call, followed by a major forum May 1. Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are not fans either. It’s fantastically complicated, however. The Ex-Im’s annual conference is now underway, but its charter expires June 30. Fans and foes alike are chiming in about its future.

And for those unfamiliar with Ex-Im: “The Export-Import Bank of the United States is an independent, self-sustaining agency with an 80-year record of supporting U.S. jobs by financing the export of American goods and services,” the organization says in it mission statement. Find them here: ExIm.gov

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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