Paul Ryan on Export-Import Bank: “I want to get rid of it”

Yesterday, in a speech at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center, House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Paul Ryan61%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard61% expressed his desire to end the Export-Import Bank, which expires at the end of September.  Ryan’s primary point though was that conservatives and Republicans should let Democrats be the party of corporate welfare and cronyism:

“My friend Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Jeb Hensarling86%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard86% has recently launched a great challenge against the crony capitalist economy, and in particular, against one of its manifestations, the Export-Import Bank. But the bank is just one example of how bureaucratic government is corrupting free enterprise through and through. Conservatives must stop defending this. Cronyism is the Progressives’ project for economic control. Let them defend it.”

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Email your Senators to Oppose the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (S. 2578)

This week, the Senate will vote on the misleadingly named Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (S. 2578). Introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), the bill is in reaction to the June Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, which granted closely-held family businesses relief from being forced to comply with the HHS anti-conscience mandate if they have a religious objection. Specifically, the Murray-Udall bill would force employers like the Greens of Hobby Lobby and the Hahns of Conestoga Wood Specialties to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices and “would also prohibit employers from seeking relief from any federal health care mandate — no matter how coercive the rule or controversial the procedure.”

The Murray-Udall bill “would essentially exempt all federal health care mandates from the protections afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and allow the administration to trample on the religious freedom of families like the Greens and Hahns who are trying to run their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The Murray-Udall bill “could also affect the freedom of non-profit employers like religious schools and charities,” Heritage adds. As long as Obamacare is the law of the land, government bureaucrats will have the “authority to decide the details of insurance plans, dictating what employers must offer and individuals must purchase.”

The government has already exempted 100 million employees from the anti-conscience mandate for commercial and political reasons. The Murray-Udall bill is allegedly designed to keep employers out of their employees’ health care decisions, but it in fact forces employers to get involved in these decisions and seriously violates their fundamental right to religious freedom in the process.

Use the POPVOX form below to email your Senators in opposition of the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act:

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Busy highway

WSJ on Highway Bill: Hold the GOP Accountable

This morning’s WSJ editorial on yesterday’s highway and transit bailout (see the scorecard) is a must read.  After slamming the bill as “a tribute to budget gimmicks” that “does nothing to address the revenue-spending mismatch that is today’s highway fund,” the editorial offered up some serious GOP accountability:

Republicans over the years have proposed a number of innovative reforms to a federal highway program that bristles with waste and bureaucracy. These include devolving more power to the states to set priorities, slashing the billions thrown at money-losing urban mass-transit projects, streamlining environmental laws that add to construction costs, and potentially devoting some royalties from expanded federal oil and gas drilling to fund roads. Too bad they never seem to get around to implementing them.

House GOP leaders are claiming the temporary nature of this patch is designed to give them another run at reform next year, perhaps with the support of a Republican-led Senate. We’ll hold them to that. The trust fund problem has been begging for a fix for years. This latest stopgap is a dodge, not a victory.

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End Ex-Im, says Bank “Beneficiary”

In a letter to the editor in the Spokesman-Review, Edmund Schweitzer III writes:

“Some Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories customers have used the Ex-Im Bank for financing, at their choosing. SEL does not depend on it, nor encourage it. If the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear, I believe buyers and sellers would find attractive commercial options unencumbered by politics and special interests.”

Mr. Schweitzer’s position is clear: Thus, at this moment, I believe the charter should not be renewed.

Ironically, a Spokesman-Review editorial in 2012 cited his company as a reason the Bank should be reauthorized:

“Although Boeing Co. is by far the biggest beneficiary, in the last five years several Eastern Washington companies – SCAFCO in Spokane, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, and Colmac Coil in Colville – have done more than $3 million worth of foreign business with Ex-Im’s help. Dozens, if not hundreds, of jobs have been created or sustained.”

The fifth district company, represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers50%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard50%, has received $3.6 million in financial assistance from the Bank since 2007, with $1.6 million coming since 2012.

Congress should End Ex-Im.

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Busy highway

How States Compensate for Less Federal Transportation Funding

In Kenneth Orski’s latest Innovation Brief, Orski explains what the states have done to buffer themselves from the effects of less transportation funding from the federal government — and it’s not the dire picture being painted by big spenders in Washington: 

While transportation stakeholders and the Washington press corps are focusing on the impending Highway Trust Fund shortfall and the emerging House-Senate consensus to “patch” the Fund with $10.8 billion in short-term funding until May 2015, they are ignoring developments outside the Beltway that go a long way to compensate for the lack of an assurance of long-term federal funding.  For in fact, individual states, far from sitting idly by, are responding to the current fiscal uncertainties in Washington by stepping up and raising additional revenue to meet their transportation needs. 

Twenty-eight states have launched transportation-related revenue initiatives according to surveys by the American Road and Builders Association (ARTBA), the National Council of State Legislatures and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Collectively, these measures are generating billions of additional dollars for state and local transportation programs and providing a buffer against the possibility of delayed federal reimbursements and inadequate federal funding.

State officials we have talked to are quick to remind that “we cannot do it all” and that all levels of government, including the federal government, should share in the cost of maintaining and improving the nation’s highways.  But they concede that the recent revenue initiatives by various state legislatures are helping to relieve concerns about a slowdown in highway construction and cushion the impact of any eventual reduction in federal funding.   


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