Wasteful OPIC Spending Must Stop, Royce Says

Royce Amendment Supported By Stop Corporate Welfare Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Members of the Stop Corporate Welfare Coalition joined U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) at a news conference Wednesday supporting the Royce-Andrews-Kasich Amendment to the Foreign Operations FY 1998 Appropriations Bill (HR 2159) that would reduce administrative appropriations to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) from $32 million to $20.8 million.

Forming a unique coalition, House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich (R-OH), U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), and U.S. Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Mark Sanford (R-SC), and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) joined Royce at the news conference.

"Simply put, OPIC should not receive over a 50% increase above what it spent just three years ago when it has not had any increase in loan or insurance level authorizations," Royce said. "Especially when we're tightening our budget belts and looking for ways to cut unnecessary and wasteful spending."

OPIC uses taxpayer funds to provide loans and high risk insurance to corporations. The Royce amendment will bring OPIC's administrative appropriation in-line with its stated administrative costs of operating its current insurance and loan guarantee programs. In FY94, OPIC's current insurance and loan caps were established. According to OPIC, its administrative expenses were $20.2 million in FY94. Even though OPIC has the same insurance and loan caps as it had in FY94, OPIC has requested more than a 50 percent increase in appropriations from what its administrative costs were in FY94.

Royce, the cochairman of the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition and lead sponsor of the amendment, said OPIC should be privatized. "Why should we ask the taxpayers in California and across this country to put their money on the line to support risky foreign investments? Or to bail out corporations who loose money overseas? The answer is we should not, and OPIC should be privatized, especially when there are private insurers willing to do the job," Royce said.

The Stop Corporate Welfare Coalition includes taxpayer, consumer, economic and environmental groups from across the political spectrum. These organizations support the amendment and include Citizens Against Government Waste, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Americans For Tax Reform, Public Citizen, Citizens For A Sound Economy, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Taxpayers For Common $ense, Friends Of The Earth, Capitol Watch, and the National Taxpayers Union. Most had representatives at the news conference.

Call your U.S. Congressmen and urge them to vote for the Royce-Andrews amendment to stop the OPIC corporate handout. The capitol operator's number is 202-225-3121. The caller just asks for your congressperson and you will be connected to their office.

For more information, phone Bryan Wilkes or Sean Rushton at (202) 225-4111

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