February 13, 2017

REVENGE OF THE CRONIES? Trump rumored to be preparing to resurrect the Ex-Im Bank.

The word on the hill is that Donald Trump has been listening to some voices among the Democrats and has been “convinced” that the bank should resume operations. (Government Executive)

Long criticized by Republicans as an agency dispensing “corporate welfare,” the Export-Import Bank on Thursday got some good news after two senators reported that President Trump is abandoning his campaign-trail position that the bank must die.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., announced that Trump “agreed with her on the need to get the Export-Import Bank up and running and said he will soon nominate someone to serve on the Export-Import Bank Board.”

The five-member board has been below quorum for a year because former Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., had blocked consideration of all of President Obama’s nominees to the bank.

You may recall that on the campaign trail Donald Trump stated unequivocally that he was an opponent of the bank’s continued operation. And that wasn’t just a campaign promise made to win votes. As recently as December he was still saying that the banks days were probably numbered. So why the change now?

As you might have been able to guess, Boeing likely played a large part in the decision. Current reports indicate that Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was whispering in Trump’s ear but he was also in talks with executives from Boeing. As we’ve long known, the airline giant is one of the largest beneficiaries of the bank’s peculiar form of corporate welfare. Coming from a big business background and being used to making deals of this magnitude, we probably shouldn’t be terribly surprised if Boeing found someone able to speak a common language with the president and convince him that the art of the deal should go their way this time.

Disappointing, if this pans out.