South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham loves crony capitalism so much that he’s willing to shut the government down.
Graham announced on Thursday his opposition to the latest continuing resolution (CR), the short-term spending bill that’s needed to keep the government open. The reason why is because the CR does not have a provision that allows the Export-Import Bank to make loans over $10 million.
The Ex-Im bank makes American taxpayer-funded loan guarantees and other services to foreign buyers of American goods. The bank has been criticized as a paragon of cronyism because large, politically connected corporations such as Boeing and General Electric are the main beneficiaries of its financing.
“I will not vote for a Continuing Resolution which does not contain a fix for the Export-Import (EX-IM) Bank. We are losing American jobs to foreign competitors for no good reason,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement. …
Graham added Thursday that including the bank fix in the CR is necessary because “we need a fully functioning EX-IM Bank to help ensure American manufacturers are able to compete in the international marketplace on a level playing field.”
The South Carolina Republican warned earlier this month that including the provision would likely determine how he would vote on the continuing resolution. He’s one of the first Senate Republicans to buck the GOP spending bill only hours after leadership filed it.
The “fix” that Graham is talking about is changing a quorum rule to allow the bank, which has filled just two of the five seats on its board, to approve loans over $10 million. It’s currently blocked from doing so because it doesn’t have a quorum.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the rule change would be Boeing, which has a factory in South Carolina. Earlier this year, Boeing’s CEO called on Congress to appoint the necessary board members to make loans over $10 million. The Ex-Im bank has been called “Boeing’s bank” because the aerospace manufacturer has been its biggest corporate beneficiary.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Boeing is one of Lindsey Graham’s biggest supporters. They have donated $43,293 to his campaigns since 2011.
In November 2011, Graham threatened to defund the National Labor Relations Board if they pursued a complaint against Boeing. The NLRB later dropped its complaint.
Last year, Graham opposed a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding that was led by Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.