Senate confirms Obama’s nominee to lead Export-Import Bank

Republicans agreed to vote on his nomination as part of a deal to avoid Senate rule changes limiting the minority's right to filibuster executive branch nominees.

“I am honored to have been reappointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate for another term as chairman of the Export-Import Bank," Hochberg said in a statement. 

“As we continue our economic recovery, exports continue to play a key role. Over the past four years, Ex-Im Bank’s financing has supported nearly 1 million American jobs and helped thousands of small businesses expand their reach into international markets."

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) voted against Hochberg, not because he wasn’t qualified, but because he thinks the bank “is a taxpayer risk” and “picks winners and losers.”

“By invoking cloture, as we have just done, and voting for confirmation,” Toomey said ahead of the vote. “I think we’re going to miss a big opportunity to make some reforms.”

The bank provides loan guarantees to foreign companies that want to do business with U.S. exporters.

Sen. Marie Cantwell (D-Wash.) said Hochberg’s confirmation was necessary to support more than 220,000 U.S. jobs. She said that if Hochberg hadn’t been confirmed this week, the bank wouldn’t have been able to make future loans since the board wouldn’t have had enough members to make decisions.

“We want U.S. products to be bought and sold in countries and markets all over the world,” Cantwell said ahead of the vote. “If we don’t approve the chairman, these deals might not go through.”

But Toomey argued that the loan process is “politicized.”

“These taxpayer-backed loans and guarantees help some U.S. companies and not others,” Toomey said. “These are the sort of unintended consequences that occur when the government meddles in the markets.”

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Hochberg was easily confirmed in 2009 — by unanimous consent in the Senate — and saw the bank through a reauthorization fight last year that increased the total financing the bank can guarantee, to $140 billion from $100 billion.

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