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Senate committee rejects Ex-Im Bank chairman nominee

The Senate Banking Committee voted to reject Scott Garrett, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank, heeding the industry’s concerns about further crippling a financial institution that supports U.S. exports.

   The Senate Banking Committee this morning to reject Scott Garrett, President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), heeding the industry’s concerns about further crippling a financial institution that supports U.S. exports.
   “The responsibility for Ex-Im’s empty board starts here in the Senate when our committee failed to consider any Ex-Im nominees last Congress and never even had a hearing on the Obama nominees,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, in remarks before the committee vote.
   “This year, the Trump administration has wasted six months by forcing us to debate Mr. Garrett’s inappropriate nomination. If the president is serious about a functioning bank, he didn’t show it by choosing Mr. Garrett and digging in when we tried in a bipartisan way to fix it,” he added.
   Garrett had his allies in the Senate Banking Committee, namely Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., but it wasn’t enough to secure the approval of his nomination. The committee voted 13-10 to reject Garrett’s nomination.
   President Trump nominated Garrett, a former Capitol Hill lawmaker from New Jersey, to serve as Ex-Im Bank chairman in mid-April. Several industry associations, namely the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Aerospace Industries Association and Ohio Manufacturers Association, almost immediately started calling for Garrett’s nomination to be withdrawn.
   In the summer of 2015, Garrett and a small group of Capitol Hill lawmakers managed to temporarily close Ex-Im Bank, but on Dec. 3, 2015, Congress restored the bank’s operations by reauthorizing its charter as part of a long-term transportation bill. The bank reauthorization will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2019.
   However, Ex-Im Bank has lacked a three-board member quorum to approve financing deals of more than $10 million, effectively putting $30 billion of export projects requiring the bank’s financing on hold. 
   The trade associations continued to blame Garrett, even after he left office, as well as his allies on Capitol Hill, for crippling the bank’s capabilities. NAM, in particular, took out numerous newspaper advertisements and secured radio spots, throughout the United States to urge American companies and workers to press for the Senate to withdraw Garrett’s nomination to lead the Ex-Im Bank.
   “The Senate Banking Committee did right by America’s manufacturing workers today by rejecting Scott Garrett’s nomination,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “This agency, which has supported 1.4 million jobs over the past several years, is too important for manufacturers and our economy to be led by someone who has consistently tried to destroy it,”
   Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee approved Trump’s other Ex-Im Bank nominees, including Kimberly A. Reed as first vice president of the bank; Spencer Bachus III,  Judith DelZoppo Pryor and Claudia Slacik to board members; and Mark L. Greenblatt to the bank’s inspector general. These nominations will now move to the full Senate for approval.
   “it is critical that the Senate move quickly to confirm the other four nominees so that the Ex-Im Bank can get back to operating at full strength,” Timmons said. “These are four well-qualified leaders who will stand up for manufacturers and believe in the Ex-Im Bank’s mission to enhance American competitiveness and support manufacturing workers. Manufacturers don’t want to waste another minute or miss any more opportunities, so the full Senate needs to vote to confirm the remaining slate of nominees without delay.”