[4/17/17] When Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) learned on Friday that President Trump intended to resuscitate the Export-Import Bank by naming two people to its board (it has been limping along with just three out of five board members present), he nailed it, tweeting, “ExIm corporate welfare bank is the symbol of D.C. cronyism. It steals from taxpayers to subsidize big corporations. End ExIm. Drain the Swamp.”
For a while it looked as if the Ex-Im Bank was for all intents and purposes dead. In 2015, the House failed to renew its charter for the first time since 1945. However, it received a little oxygen through the use of a discharge petition tied to a major transportation funding bill that allowed it to operate through September 2019, although it would be unable to guarantee taxpayer-backed loans of more than $10 million as long as it had only three people on its board.
During his presidential campaign, Trump was death on the Ex-Im Bank, claiming that it was “featherbedding” for politicians and huge corporations.
And then came a conversation with the president of one of those “huge” corporations: Dennis Mullenburg, CEO of Boeing. That conversation took place in December at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The New American covered the story, noting especially Trump’s displeasure with how much the new Air Force One aircraft Boeing was building would cost. Said Trump at the time: “We’re going to get it done for less than [the $4 billion price tag], and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens.” The New American article noted at the time that “Mullenburg’s company, generating nearly $100 billion a year in revenues, is greatly dependent upon [the federal] government for a large part of those revenues.”
On Friday Bloomberg noted that “Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Mullenburg is said to have helped change the president’s view of the agency. Boeing is by far the largest beneficiary of the [Ex-Im] Bank among exporters, to the tune of several billion dollars annually, followed by General Electric Co.”