While the state’s congressional delegation is proud of its collegiality, the looming vote over subsidizing American exporters demands that each must decide between aiding some American employers or trimming the government’s budget.
And right now, the delegation is divided three ways over the fate of the federal Export-Import Bank and its projected $140 billion budget.
To make the decision tougher, South Carolina’s prize corporate catch, Boeing, says it needs the bank.
“Last time we were here you asked me about Boeing and NLRB. Well, what about Boeing and Ex-Im bank?” he said to about 400 state business leaders at the SC Chamber of Commerce’s Washington Night in Columbia Tuesday.
“We need to wean our country and others off of all these subsidies,” countered Sen. Jim DeMint, who staunchly opposes the growth of the bank. “And they don’t just want to reauthorize it, they want to raise it.”
AUDIO: DeMint explains his opposition (1:31)
Congressman James Clyburn countered, “This is a lifeline to Boeing.”
AUDIO: Clyburn on Boeing and Ex-Im (:24)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is leading a Senate Republican effort to reauthorize the bank, was serving military duty and could not argue his case on the panel. He is asking that the measure get to a Senate vote instead of being attached to a Democrat’s jobs bill. In a letter to Senate leaders, Graham and more than 25 other lawmakers said, “It is our belief that once the Senate has had the ability to debate and vote on amendments related to the legislation, we will be able to pass a bill with a very large bipartisan majority.”
Rep. Joe Wilson of the 2nd District will vote for the bill, but the four freshman are still on the fence.
One problem says the 4th District’s Trey Gowdy is that they have not seen a final product yet.
AUDIO: Gowdy undecided until he sees “facts” of bill (1:20)
Tim Scott of the 1st District, which includes Charleston, says he sees both sides.
AUDIO: Scott says he’s in the middle (1:29)
Congress will return to this debate when they return from spring recess.
The authorization expires before June 1.