Trump picks critic to lead Ex-Im Bank he once opposed
- Author: Todd Kelly Apr 16, 2017,
Apr 16, 2017, 0:54
President Trump has wisely reversed his previous opposition to the operation of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and has made a decision to nominate two people to fill the vacancies in the Board of Trustees at the Bank.
Conservatives in Congress, including Garrett, campaigned to close Ex-Im in 2015, which led to the bank's charter expiring for five months.
"Yikes", said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) about the news of Garrett's selection.
U.S. President Donald Trump nominated former Republican lawmaker Scott Garrett as president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States on Friday, completing an about-face over an institution he had denounced as "featherbedding" for big business.
The positions require Senate confirmation.
Now, however, Trump has had a change of heart because the CEO of Boeing - which benefits greatly from the bank - pulled him aside and explained how it works, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Large American corporations that do significant amounts of exports say other countries have similar agencies and the export bank levels the playing field.
Trump's about-face on the export bank comes after meeting on Tuesday with former Boeing Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney, who left the company previous year but oversaw the corporation's aggressive lobbying effort in support of the bank in 2015.
"I don't like it because I don't think it's necessary", Trump said. The bank helps US firms sell their products overseas by offering cheap, federally guaranteed loans and other forms of financial support. Trump said. "But actually, it's a very good thing. And it actually makes money, it could make a lot of money".
"Rather than pursuing policies that subsidize foreign companies and governments", Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said, "lawmakers should be advancing policies that truly make America great again". During the two-year election cycle, his top contributors were individuals who worked at Club for Growth, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While the bank was revived, its five-member board has lacked a quorum, which restricted it from granting loans of more than $10 million. In a tweet in October 2015, Garrett described the bank as a "corporate welfare program".
With a board shortage, the 82-year-old agency authorized only $5 billion in financing in fiscal 2016, the lowest level in almost 40 years, compared with $20 billion in 2014, the last year the bank was fully operational.
Many moderate, business-minded Republican groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce support the bank.
Congressional supporters of the bank failed a year ago to revive the higher lending limit.