Sen. Mike Lee wants to phase out a government program that provides capital to businesses for foreign trade because he said it interferes with private financiers and unfairly offers "sweetheart" deals for certain favored corporations.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States, or Ex-Im Bank, supports business through offering loans to fill export orders. Foreign buyers can also obtain competitive financing to purchase goods and services made in the United States.
The problem, Lee said, is that the government is competing with the private sector. He said it was time to "get government out of the business of picking winners and losers."
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"The only problem is, financing for these products is available on the commercial market. At least, it would be if the government weren't getting in the way, if the government weren't in there giving a special sweetheart deal to certain favorites of the government," the Utah Republican told "Fox & Friends" Monday.
As an example, the federal government offered loan guarantees in 2012 of nearly $15 billion. Of that, $12.2 billion went to airline manufacturer Boeing Co. Lee said American taxpayers should not be burdened with funding one business over another.
"I certainly don't think the American taxpayer ought to be forced against his or her will to do anything that picks one industry, or one player within one industry," he said.
Lee said he wanted the Ex-Im Bank "phased out" and "ramped down," so that financing could return "to the private sector where it properly belongs."
"Financing of large industrial equipment, financing of large airplanes really ought not be something that the government is involved in. This is something that banks do, not governments," he said.
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