This week, I voted against H.R. 2072 -- Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011, not because I am against securing jobs, but because I am against increasing the exposure limit on the American taxpayer by 40 percent. The legislation increases the Export-Import Bank's exposure limit to $120 billion in FY2012, $130 billion in FY2013, and $140 billion in FY 2014. With our national debt more than $15 trillion and counting, it's more critical than ever that Congress make a thorough assessment of the potential costs of any legislation expanding the government's existing financial obligations.
The mission of the Export-Import Bank ("Ex-Im"), an independent federal agency, is to support export financing of U.S. goods and services. The Bank's main products are direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital guarantees, and export credit insurance. By law, the Bank is intended only to fill gaps in commercially available financing for U.S. exports by serving as a "lender of last resort," and not competing with private lenders.
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to regulate commerce, but Ex-Im is a clear example of the federal government participating in commerce. The federal government has no authority to leverage taxpayer dollars in order to pick economic winners and losers. As a strong constitutional conservative, I cannot support legislation that ignores the Constitution and principles of free enterprise.
The Wall Street Journal featured an excellent opinion-editorial this week summarizing this bill's anti-free-enterprise, anti-market policies: "That's job creation, French-style." I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it.
As the WSJ piece accurately points out, "Republicans were not elected in 2010 on a message of business subsidies as usual. They were elected on a platform of government reform and fiscal restraint." I will continue to cut government spending and support legislation that is in line with our core Constitutional principles of free enterprise to create jobs and put our fiscal house back in order.
Member of Congress
Also, in case you missed it, click here to watch the my recent floor speech in support of an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2013, that would prohibit the use of funds by the Attorney General to originate or join in any lawsuit that seeks to overturn, enjoin, or invalidate certain state immigration laws.