Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in opposition to reauthorizing the Export-Import bank:
“I want to thank the chairman for yielding. We are having a debate—a healthy debate. But I don’t think this is the structure where we—or the forum in which we should have the debate about this, because we don’t have the options for amendments. I think there’s a better way to do this.
“But the argument today—and people have two views—but the real question in the debate we are having comes down to this: Do we let government pick and choose who it gives special, taxpayer loans to or not?
“Our constituents know very well what the right choice is. They don’t want their tax dollars backing up loans for any businesses. That’s not the government’s job. The private sector can and should do that—and our economy does best when the government is left out.
“When government gets involved, trying to centralize power and money in itself, corruption is inevitable. The Ex-Im bank is a perfect example of this. And this is my concern.
“An inspector general is investigating at least 31 cases of fraud at the Ex-Im bank. And this fraud has wasted millions of taxpayers’ dollars.
“But it doesn’t stop there. A former Ex-Im employee, Johnny Gutierrez, pleaded guilty this year to taking bribes on 19 different occasions to help applicants get loans [from] Ex-Im. Another Ex-Im employee was indicted for taking $100,000 in bribes to help a Nigerian businessman get loans from Ex-Im. And we all remember a congressman, William Jefferson, was sentences to 13 years in prison for taking bribes to help a company get loans from Ex-Im.
“You see, there’s a pattern—a pattern that won’t be solved today regardless of what side you’re on.
“Since 2009—in fewer than six years—there have been 49 criminal judgments against Ex-Im employees or people who benefited from Ex-Im. Many of these people have gone to prison for it. In fact, if you combine them all up, that’s 75 years they are serving.
“Now, I wish I could tell you that was my only complaint and problem and it ended there. But it does get worse. A large number of the loans Ex-Im guarantees aren’t even for American companies. The bank actually uses taxpayer money to back up loans for companies owned by governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others.
“You know, one of these loans to corporations outside of America doesn’t always go well. Do you remember NewSat? That’s an Australian company that just lost $139 million in taxpayer-backed loans. You see, NewSat’s CEO allegedly diverted company funds to his yacht company.
“So the question, Mr. Speaker: When does the corruption become too bad? When is it that too many people take bribes? How many taxpayer loans must be issued in fraud?
“So the question I have before this House is, if we’re serious, if we want to really make a difference, let’s have a process that can change things. Let’s have a process that can offer amendments. Let’s have a process that offers an honest debate. And let’s not be shy about what the problems are. Because I think the American people expect more.”