Rubio Courts The Kochs
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio detailed his opposition to the Export-Import Bank Thursday, days after major Ex-Im opponents Charles and David Koch identified him as a top contender for their endorsement in the Republican primary.
“I have long supported ending the funding for the Export-Import Bank,” Rubio said on a conference call with the Koch-organized group Americans for Prosperity. “I don’t believe taxpayer money should be used as corporate welfare.”
Ex-Im has long been a target of the center-right, with many calling it corporate welfare. The libertarian Kochs plan to back a Republican candidate in the primary race for the first time this year, and have made it clear that opposition to Ex-Im is a step toward winning their high-value endorsement. (RELATED: Conservative Opposition To Ex-Im Bank Hits Fever Pitch)
“If you can’t stand up against corporate welfare, how are you going to go in with any credibility and [reform] some of the broader entitlement programs?” a Koch aide told The Daily Signal Tuesday, referring to candidates’ willingness to end the Bank.
Other candidates the Kochs are considering endorsing include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, they told USA Today Tuesday. (RELATED: Rubio Leaps To Head Of GOP Fiedl, Ties With Hillary In National Poll)
The Ex-Im Bank’s stated mission is to make it easier for U.S. businesses to export goods by providing financing deemed impossible or too risky by the market, with the goal of helping the U.S. economy. But critics say it’s expensive and amounts to international corporate welfare funded by U.S. taxpayers. (RELATED: Boeing CEO Refuses To Make Case For Ex-Im Before Congress)
Rubio said the arguments he’s heard in favor the bank “do not stand up to scrutiny.” He argued most small businesses don’t benefit from Ex-Im, it costs taxpayers money and jobs, and the vast majority of exports go just fine without its financing.
“The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to the free market, and it shouldn’t be using taxpayer money to pay large corporations to conduct business overseas,” he said.
Asked to comment on the potential Koch endorsement, Rubio said he would “love to earn their support,” and believes he’s generally aligned with their stances.
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