Driving the Week: More Government Handouts

As Congress returns from recess, students and corporations that export products will again be in the spotlight, as bills to subsidize each will come to the floor. For students, the Senate will take up its version of the student loan interest rate bill, and for the corporations, the House will vote on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

But wait! Before that happens, the House of Representative will take on something that actually matters (well, the jury’s still out on whether all of these programs need government funding, but at least the bill will actually affect the country, unlike the college student payoff). That’s right, in between all the gimmicks and politicized campaign ploys, the House will do some real work. The Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriation bill will be on the floor this week, at funding levels put forth in the House-passed Ryan budget. And, it also eliminates some programs!

The bill will be considered under an open rule, meaning amendments are expected.  Many of those will attempt to cut spending from the bill, even though we all know President Obama and Democrats in the Senate won’t allow any bill through that doesn’t increase the size and scope of government. Still, if the House adheres to their budget (or goes below their own ceiling), it will send a strong message to the American people that they are serious about sticking to a plan that will turn our economy around.

After the real work is taken care of, the House will focus on providing more handouts to corporations who sell their goods oversees for a cheaper (thanks to the taxpayer-backed subsidies) price than they would to domestic companies. The Export-Import (ExIm) Bank, which President Obama said in 2008 was “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.” Congress shouldn’t be wasting time or risking taxpayer money on an agency which was created to increase exports but, as the Wall Street Journal points out, has only a “negligible” contribution to increasing those exports.

On the Senate side, the upper chamber will be taking up a version of the student loan bill that will keep the interest rates the same for just another year, cost taxpayers $6 billion, and pay for it by raising taxes on small businesses and community banks. As we’ve said before, an upfront cost to taxpayers of $6 billion in order to reduce interest payments by about $7 a month when the students graduate in four years, is absurd. President Obama is using this issue as a campaign gimmick that won’t even affect the college students he’s traveling the country to sell it to!

At least we get a little bit of real work this week, but as the election gets closer, we can expect more and more issues like the ExIm Bank and student loan gimmicks to fill up Congress’ time. Heritage Action will be watching Congress to keep you informed of these ploys, because you need to know how your tax dollars are being wasted.

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