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In a move that is preventing the recently renewed Export-Import Bank from functioning, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) has been blocking the nomination of a new board member.
Until the board position is filled, the bank cannot finance any deals greater than $10 million, which essentially prevents it from doing much.
I find this story quite surprising. It says that Shelby has opposed the Ex-Im Bank because he considers it the worse form of “crony capitalism”. Yet, Shelby is also the king of aerospace pork, pushing NASA to fund SLS (thus pouring money into Alabama and the Marshall Spaceflight Center), despite the fact that SLS is a gigantic boondoggle that will never accomplish anything in space.
I suspect that Shelby’s real goals are twofold: 1. He doesn’t like the deals the bank has been financing, and wants to apply pressure on them to instead give deals to his own corporate buddies. 2. He is trying to extort campaign contributions from the parties involved.
Sadly, I can’t believe for an instant that Shelby has altruistic motives.