Many Americans may not have heard of the Export-Import Bank — a fact frequently noted
by the media — but the fight over whether or not to renew the Bank’s charter before it expires in September is a pivotal one in Washington this year. Politicians’ stance on the issue will serve as a litmus test for their commitment to Main Street rather than well connected special interests.
The good news, as NPR reports, is that Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is leading the charge against the Bank’s reauthorization.
With Hensarling and other top House Republican leaders ready to kill the bank, it may be difficult for the bank to get the votes it needs to stay in business.
Why are they so staunchly opposed? Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus center describes the Bank this way, and explains why anyone who really understands how the Bank works should oppose it:
We don’t agree on much in Washington. But given all of the economic and social problems our nation faces, everyone should agree that the federal government should not direct our limited public resources primarily to wealthy, politically connected corporations. This is what the Export-Import Bank does.
Some say that there are good reasons to continue doing this. They say that the bank, known as the Ex-Im Bank, promotes U.S. exports, protects jobs and is a good deal for taxpayers. None of these arguments withstand scrutiny.
And Daniel Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University agrees:
“In my camp, the Export-Import Bank has always been a prime example of unjustified, inefficient corporate welfare,” Boudreaux says. “The fact that there’s a Tea Party movement now, that’s what gives opposition to the Export-Import Bank some legs to stand on now.”
The Obama Administration is quick to blame the current crisis on our southern border on Republicans in Congress. They claim Republicans have failed to fund the administration’s efforts to effectively deal with the massive influx of children from Central America entering the country illegally.
White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz says Congress can’t criticize the administration while withholding funding to deal with the situation.
Unfortunately for Muñoz and her friends in the administration, there is plenty to criticize, and throwing money at the border is not the solution to the crisis.
Heritage Foundation’s David Inserra and Romina Boccia explain:
Ultimately, additional funding is not the solution to the U.S.’s immigration woes. Instead, the Obama Administration should rescind its anti-enforcement policies that are contributing to this crisis in the first place. Specifically, the Obama Administration is claiming executive authority to not enforce the immigration laws through “prosecutorial discretion.”
Read the whole piece here.
Is Congress serious about making college more affordable and increasing access to college for more students?
Historically, their efforts to do so have failed, which is why “approximately 60 percent of students who earned a bachelor’s degree during the 2011-12 academic year left school more than $26,000 in debt.”
Fortunately, the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey M. Burke has real solutions to this problem, which she discussed in a testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection. Watch the testimony below.
Burke said, “earning a college degree is the way to climb the ladder of economic mobility,” which is why she has dedicated serious research to ensuring those who go to college can afford to do so without being burdened by such great debt upon graduation. She stated:
The value of earning a college degree is demonstrable. The cost of earning that degree, however, has become prohibitively expensive for many as college costs have risen. Average tuition at four-year public institutions for out-of-state students reached $22,200 this academic year, and at private universities, average tuition now exceeds $30,000 annually.
In order to change that phenomenon, Burke explains:
In order to make college more affordable, federal policy should do three things:
1. Stop the higher education spending spree;
2. Employ fair-value accounting to understand the cost of federal student loans; and
3. Decouple federal financing from accreditation
The White House insists that the deal it made for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was done lawfully (sub. req’d
The Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap was legal, the White House insisted Tuesday, as President Barack Obama defended the deal at a press conference in Poland.
A statement from the White House said the president’s power under the Constitution trumps a law requiring Congress get 30 days notice.
“Delaying the transfer in order to provide the 30-day notice would interfere with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. soldiers,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “Because such interference would significantly alter the balance between Congress and the President, and could even raise constitutional concerns, we believe it is fair to conclude that Congress did not intend that the Administration would be barred from taking the action it did in these circumstances.”