Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry on Friday urged Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank’s charter, marking a break from many congressional Republican leaders and top Republicans from his own state.
In a letter to congressional leaders and copied to the Texas congressional delegation, Perry said failure to reauthorize the bank would cost the U.S. jobs and drive up the cost of U.S. goods. Perry also said Texas, the largest exporting state in the nation, would see the biggest negative effect.
Congress is in the midst of an increasingly heated debate about whether to reauthorize the bank’s charter, which expires at the end of September.
The fight has made unusual alliances — the White House, Democratic leaders, and many pro-business Republican leaders and groups support the charter’s renewal, while Tea Party-aligned politicians and groups and some liberal Democratic lawmakers stand in opposition. There are rumblings the dispute could even lead as far as the second federal government shutdown in two years.
Leading the push to close the bank has been Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a fellow Texas Republican. He is the chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.
Hensarling has called the Ex-Im Bank an example of “corporate welfare” and government-sponsored cronyism, but Perry’s letter directly countered those points. The bank provides direct loans, guarantees, and credit insurance to aid foreign purchasers in buying American-made goods.
Perry said a failure to reauthorize the bank’s charter would put Texas’ business at a competitive global disadvantage, providing 10 examples of companies in the agricultural, manufacturing, and technology sectors.
“I understand some are concerned about the bank, but if there are ways to improve the program by making it more transparent, I would encourage you to do so as part of the reauthorization,” Perry wrote.
“To unilaterally disarm by not reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank puts American companies at a disadvantage in their ability to compete in the global marketplace, will cost jobs, and will drive up prices for American-made goods.”
Perry’s move earned immediate criticism from some of the groups who oppose renewing the bank’s charter renewal. The Club for Growth pointed to 2011 comments from Perry, when he criticised the Obama administration after the Export-Import Bank contributed a $US2 billion loan guarantee to a Brazilian oil company.
“Rick Perry must have forgotten that he did a great job criticising the Export-Import Bank back when he was running for President,” Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said in a statement. “The Export-Import Bank picks winners and losers in the free market and it should be eliminated completely.”
Here’s Perry’s full letter:
This post has been updated to include a comment from the Club for Growth.
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