Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA, 8th District) and Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ, 6th District) introduced bipartisan legislation to terminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a government agency which uses taxpayer dollars to offer risk insurance to private corporations investing overseas. Cutting this wasteful corporate giveaway will save American taxpayers $421 million within the next decade, and will eliminate a huge risk to taxpayers in excess of $11 billion- OPIC's current financial exposure.
Many OPIC projects are unnecessary subsidies to large corporations, and other OPIC projects have resulted in environmental hazards, corruption, and have had other negative impacts on local communities. Additionally, by encouraging companies to invest abroad instead of here at home, OPIC may be diverting American jobs overseas. American taxpayers should not be put at risk to subsidize risky investments in foreign countries, particularly as our own economy continues to recover.
OPIC has also been criticized for its frivolous government expenditures, including supporting Papa Johns franchises in Russia, a financing company incorporated in Luxembourg, Marriott hotels, "tourist activity camps" for resorts, and diamond mines. While OPIC's cost and risks are spread to each American taxpayer, its benefits are largely concentrated to shareholders in multinational corporations. American taxpayers should not be on the hook for bailing out multinational companies for their investments abroad.
"Funding huge multinational corporations' investments abroad is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars that would be better spent paying down the debt and providing middle class families tax relief," said Murphy. "I'm proud to work with Jeff Flake on this bipartisan legislation to eliminate OPIC and save nearly half a billion dollars."
"This is exactly the type of corporate welfare program that drives taxpayers crazy," said Flake. "It's great to have U.S. companies expanding their markets overseas, just not on the taxpayers' dime. Eliminating OPIC is a no-brainer."
"The Overseas Private Investment Corporation wastes hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund frivolous and often risky projects," said Tom Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. "The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste has long been an advocate for OPIC's elimination and applauds Representatives Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for leading the charge against this profligate and unnecessary government agency."
The Murphy-Flake "Kick OPIC" legislation would effectively eliminate OPIC, and stop it from being reauthorized this year. By stopping the Congressional outlays to OPIC, this legislation would:
* Save taxpayers $421 million over the next decade;
* Eliminate a huge risk to the national deficit, and to taxpayers, in excess of $11 billion - OPIC's current financial exposure;
* Ensure that private insurance companies, not taxpayers, bear the risk of corporate investment overseas; and,
* Eliminate taxpayer-sponsored diversion of U.S. jobs overseas.