House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) announced his opposition to the Export-Import Bank during a hearing on Thursday and questioned the bank’s place in the free-market system.
“The bank picks winners and losers in our economy by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, working capital guarantees and direct loans to American exporters and purchasers of U.S. exports,” Hensarling said at the hearing entitled Assessing Reform at the Export-Import Bank.
The bank allegedly makes loans backed by taxpayers that the private sector is unwilling to make, according to Hensarling.
Hensarling said he disagrees with people who say the bank is self-sustaining and does not pose a high risk to taxpayers.
“Unfortunately, we need not look past Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the National Flood Insurance Program or the Federal Housing Administration to know that it is perhaps impossible to provide government backing at no risk to hardworking taxpayers,” Hensarling said.
Witnesses at the hearing included Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the bank, Osvaldo Gratacós, the bank’s inspector general and Matthew Scire, the director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at the Government Accountability Office.
Hensarling closed his opening statement by recommending an end to the bank’s interference with the market.