WASHINGTON, DC — Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following remarks in opposition of H.R. 597, legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to express my strong disapproval for this bill for the Export-Import Bank.
“This is a pretty profound debate we are having. It’s about what kind of economy we’re going to have. Are we going to reward good work or good connections?
“I think there are plenty other ways to expand opportunity in this country, and corporate welfare is not one of them. The biggest beneficiaries of this bank, two-thirds of their money go to 10 companies. Forty percent goes to one company.
“And this bank does cost money—just ask the Congressional Budget Office when they use real scorekeeping. Remember Fannie Mae? Remember their accounting? Remember when they told us they weren’t going to cost any money—until they did? And it cost us billions.
“The other excuse that I just don’t buy is, ‘other countries do this, so should we.’ We shouldn’t acquire other countries’ bad habits. We should be leading by example. We should be exporting democratic capitalism, not crony capitalism.
“There is this criticism by those against the free enterprise system who compare it to competition, like a sport. Where the critics of free enterprise say there’s a winner and there’s a loser, just like a boxing match or a football game. Well, that’s true when it comes to crony capitalism. That is the case when it comes to corporate welfare. Because in that case, the winner is the person with connections. It’s the company with power. It’s the company with clout.
“The loser is the person who is out there working hard, playing by the rules, not knowing anybody, not going to Washington, hoping and thinking that the merit of their idea and the quality of their work is what will win the day. That’s what is rewarded under a free enterprise system.
“Free enterprise is more about collaboration. It’s more about transactions of mutual benefit where everybody benefits, and the rising tide lifts all boats. Equality for all. Equal opportunity. That’s free enterprise. That’s small d, democratic capitalism. This thing is crony capitalism, and I urge it be rejected.”