Ex-Im bank beefs up PR team for extension push

The Export-Import Bank, which is squarely in the sights of conservative lawmakers who want to scrap it, is beefing up its communications team.

The bank announced two new hires Friday for its communications team, including an official who most recently headed press relations for the White House’s Domestic Policy Council.

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Brad Carroll joins the independent federal agency from the Obama administration as a senior vice president. The bank also announced it had hired Dolline Hatchett as a vice president in its communications office.

Hatchett comes from a nuclear energy provider, and previously put in stints at the Energy Department and the Labor Department.

"Brad and Dolline bring a great depth of strategic experience and leadership to the communications team of the Bank," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "Together they will further complement our efforts to communicate the mission of the Bank, as we work together to level the playing field for U.S. businesses and create more American jobs in a competitive global economy."

The hires, which are filling existing vacancies at the bank, come as its existence is under increasing danger from the right. Congress needs to pass legislation extending the bank by the end of September. Business groups are pushing for another extension, arguing it provides critical loan guarantees to foreign purchasers of U.S. exports.

But conservative Republicans and outsider groups have long criticized the bank as effectively being government handouts to private enterprises, and are gearing up for a big push to kill another extension.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), whose panel would handle such an extension, has been fiercely critical of the program as “corporate cronyism.”

And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has said he is deferring to Hensarling on handling a possible extension, suggesting the bank’s continued survival could be an uphill climb.