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Vitter wants answers on Brazil drilling loan; Paul wanted answers too

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said President Barack Obama's support for Petrobras oil drilling is "ridiculous."Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) wants answers from the US taxpayer supported Export-Import bank about a $2 billion loan to Brazil for offshore drilling. Vitter’s home state is suffering under a moratorium imposed by President Barack Obama. Vitter said Louisianians “are frustrated” and he wants to know “why permitting domestically is nearly stalled…”

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) had questions about ExIM—nine years ago when he asked Congress to reject the reauthorization of ExIm for “economic, constitutional and moral reasons.”

Vitter sent a letter to Fred Hochberg, Ex-Im president, on March 17. Vitter asked Hochberg to identify all US companies that have increased exports because of the US taxpayer funded loan to Brazil. Vitter wanted to know which exports have increased, the return on investment and the names of all US and foreign investors “that increased their shareholdings in Petrobras in excess of $50 million within a six month period before and after the ExIm loan.”

Curiously during the same time frame the loan to Brazil was announced in August, 2009, Bloomberg announced George Soros “sold 22 million U.S.-listed common shares of Petrobras…” Soros is a billionaire who often supports socialist-progressive groups and candidates.

By September, headlines at Businessweek announced Petrobras raised $70 billion in capital. The capital was raised in the “world’s largest share sale.” Afterwards Petrobras, said the news service, became the fourth largest company in the world.

Scribd featured a list of Petrobras investors. Petrobras is state-controlled.

In 2002, Paul who is known as a fiscal hawk, delivered a passionate speech on the House floor calling ExIm “corporate welfare.” Paul pointed out ExIm was an “agency of the government that allocates credit to special interests and to the benefit of foreign entities.” Paul rightly pointed out the establishment of ExIm was unconstitutional.

ExIm was founded by a Democrat, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt routinely ignored the tenets of the US Constitution with many of his socialist-leaning programs.

With credit tightening for Main Street, Paul’s characterization of ExIm is particularly troubling. Paul said, “In order to take billions of dollars and give it to one single company, it is taken out of the pool of funds available.”

Paul concluded: “Mr. Chairman, Eximbank distorts the market by allowing government bureaucrats to make economic decisions in place of individual consumers. Eximbank also violates basic principles of morality, by forcing working Americans to subsidize the trade of wealthy companies that could easily afford to subsidize their own trade, as well as subsidizing brutal governments like Red China and the Sudan. Eximbank also violates the limitations on congressional power to take the property of individual citizens and use it to benefit powerful special interests. It is for these reasons that I urge my colleagues to reject H.R. 2871, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act.”

Paul disclosed that Enron had received more than $640 million “in taxpayer funded assistance” from ExIm. Ironically China was at the time one of the biggest beneficiaries of ExIm’s largesse.

Vitter isn’t happy with the sweet deal ExIm gave Brazil for offshore drilling Obama is prohibiting US companies from doing. Vitter closed his letter to Hochberg with a reminder he wants answers: “I am sure you can understand the frustration Louisianians have with a $2 billion loan to produce energy offshore Brazil. Given that U.S. offshore oil and gas reserves are estimated at nearly triple the 40 billion barrels estimated offshore Brazil, a thorough response from you would be helpful in understanding why permitting domestically is nearly stalled, and if there is at least a return on investment for supporting production offshore Brazil.”

It might also be appropriate to hold hearings. Has anyone thought to ask how much the US taxpayer lost on Enron?

In a formal statement, Vitter said Obama’s support for Petrobras oil drilling is “ridiculous.”

Democrats claim to look out for the interests of the people. What they fail to mention are those people are apparently citizens of other countries when it comes to hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars fueling ExIm since FDR.

Sources/Related Articles

Florida debates offshore drilling as Brazil gets US loan to drill
The US Report

Drill ban begs question: Do Dems want the U.S. to fail?
The US Report

Export-Import Bank of the United States

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/March 21, 2011)

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