Supported by Ohio’s two-term Senior Senator Sherrod Brown, and opposed by Ohio’s term-limited Gov. John Kasich, the Export-Import Bank [Ex-Im] of the United States is ready to make a comeback if Congress acts to pass a bi-partisan transportation spending bill that includes the controversial federal lending agency.
Sen. Brown, who won his first term in the U.S. Senate in 2006 and then again in 2012 after withstanding an onslaught of $40 million to defeat him, is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. He’s also one of 13 Senators on the House-Senate Conference Committee that has been negotiating the much needed but greatly delayed federal transportation bill, the first long-term transportation measure since 2005.
“A strong, bipartisan majority of Congress has voted to renew the Export-Import Bank so that it can continue to help businesses grow, create jobs, and compete globally” Sen. Brown said in a statement in late October. “General Electric and other companies have already announced plans to move jobs out of the United States to take advantage of export financing abroad,” he said, adding, “Congress must renew Ex-Im before we lose out on even more U.S. jobs. It’s time for Senate Republican leaders to put American jobs ahead of narrow, partisan interests and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.”
Since 2007, the Ex-Im Bank has provided direct financial assistance to more than 350 Ohio businesses—including 226 small businesses—to support $3 billion of exports, Sen. Brown’s office said. The bank’s charter expired at the end of June, the same month Brown released a county-by-county report detailing Ohio businesses that have relied on Ex-Im Bank funding over that period. Last year alone, Sen. Brown said, the bank supported more than $250 million in Ohio exports, more than 60 percent of which were transactions done by small businesses.
Gov. John Kasich, who promised to create jobs as the “speed of business” but who has yet to meet the national job creation average for 35 straight months, slammed the Export-Import Bank during a public speech in Charleston, S.C., in May. According to The Hill, Gov. Kasich, who jumped into the GOP race for president after many others made the plunge, has generally followed the line espoused by the long list of GOP White House wannabes who opposed the 80-year-old bank. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker all decided to oppose renewing the bank’s charter that ended in June.
“I don’t like the idea that if the private banks cannot make loans, that therefore the government ought to make them,” Kasich said, according to Charleston’s Post and Courier. “The big guys always want ‘freebies.’ That’s what they want. I’ve been against corporate welfare from the time I was in Congress. If you’re going to reform welfare for poor people, you ought to reform it for rich people too.”
Kasich duplicity on a variety of topics is legend. Being for it before he was against it was on display when media confronted him with his support to reauthorize the bank in 1992 and again five years later in 1997. As a congressman who represented a reliably conservative district in central Ohio for 18 years and who talks long and hard about helping business, Mr. Kasich has done an about face on Ex-Im now that he’s running for president on a platform that sees Washington as obsolete. Gov. Kasich has now distanced himself from the votes he made to reauthorize the agency, according to published reports.
A couple months ago, in September, The Cleveland Plain Dealer [CPD] editorialized on Gov. Kasich’s dissing of the bank and its clients after he joined hundreds of his lawmaker colleagues who voted for it. A Wall Street Journal report cited by the CPD suggested General Electric Co. had written off Ohio as a potential new site for its corporate headquarters because some of the state’s key politicians didn’t support the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
Not named but suspected as being one of the Ohio’s leaders who went south on support for the bank was Gov. John Kasich. The CPD wondered why Gov. Kasich joined the anti agency camp. The paper that embarrassed itself by taking down a video of John Kasich acting like a petulant spoiled child when he was in the same room with his challengers last year, took Ohio’s top elected leader on his duplicity.
“If he views the Ex-Im Bank as corporate welfare, then what does he call the millions of dollars in financial incentives doled out to attract or retain jobs by his signature development effort, the quasi-public JobsOhio, which operates on state liquor money?”