Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton joined the debate over the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization today and came out in support of the embattled 80-year-old agency.
Clinton is the latest 2016 candidate to take a stance publicly on the Export-Import Bank, and she reaffirmed her backing of the bank at a campaign stop with residents and small business owners in Hampton, N.H.
While speaking at the Smuttynose Brewery, Clinton criticized the GOP for jeopardizing 164,000 jobs supported by Ex-Im. Clinton also touted the millions of dollars in exports from New Hampshire small businesses that Ex-Im has supported over the years.
“They should know better,” she said of the Republicans opposing the bank. “It’s embarrassing.”
Clinton previously spoke of her support for the bank at an event in November, where she said Ex-Im helps the United States remain competitive in the global market.
Many of the bank’s backers, including Clinton’s fellow Democratic 2016 candidate Martin O’Malley, argue Ex-Im supports jobs in the United States. But, the argument is often a point of contention for those who believe the bank’s life should end.
A 2011 report from the American Action Forum contended that while Ex-Im creates jobs in specific industries, it “redistributes” jobs across the economy. Additionally, a 2013 report from the Government Accountability Office found that Ex-Im’s methodology for calculating job creation makes it difficult to determine how the bank’s financing affects employment.
The agency’s charter expires June 30, and the issue has become the topic of discussion not only on Capitol Hill, but also on the campaign trail, where a number of Republican and Democratic prospective presidential candidates are addressing Ex-Im’s future.
On Capitol Hill, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas is one of Ex-Im’s staunchest opponents. Hensarling, whose committee has jurisdiction over the bank, spoke out against Clinton’s defense of Ex-Im.
“Hillary Clinton is a natural cheerleader for the Export-Import Bank,” he said in a statement. “After all, Ex-Im’s biggest beneficiaries are foreign governments and giant corporations. Conveniently, these just happen to be among the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation as well as major underwriters of the speaking fees that added millions of dollars to the Clinton bank account.”