House GOP Leadership Takes Brave Stand on Ex-Im…

…and agrees to wind down the bank maybe in a year. Not exactly a profile in courage. From The Hill blog earlier this week:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) plans to bring a bill to the floor by the end of March that could eventually end Ex-Im “subsidies.”

“We are working toward a bipartisan solution for the Export-Import Bank that will include reforms and begin to set a long-term policy goal to eliminate these subsidies going forward,” a GOP leadership aide said. “The legislation continues to be developed and we hope to consider it on the floor by the end of March.” [emphasis added]

(More details from Inside U.S. Trade [$]). When Mr. Cantor says “begin to set a long-term policy goal to eliminate these subsidies going forward,” I think we can all assume that the ”bipartisan solution” he is proposing would come into effect at around the same time, to quote P.J. O’Rourke, that the pope sits shiva.

As I described in a paper last year, the Ex-Im Bank is a perfect example of unnecessary and damaging corporate welfare, and of an agency engaging in activities in which the federal government has no business. It has been around for almost 80 years.  It’s current charter expires at the end of May, which seems like a convenient time to let it die. Why the delay, Mr. Cantor? What exactly are you waiting for?

In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal had a great editorial on Ex-Im last Saturday. And here’s Veronique de Rugy’s take.