McConnell signals support to move Export-Import Bank nominee

McConnell signals support to move Export-Import Bank nominee
© Haiyun Jiang

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellYou just can't keep good health policy down Trump threatens to veto omnibus over lack of wall funding, DACA fix Democrats desperate for a win hail spending bill MORE (R-Ky.) signaled on Tuesday that he willing to consider President Obama's nominee to the Export-Import Bank’s board.

McConnell, who opposes the 82-year-old agency, said that since there is broad support in the Senate for the agency that the Banking Committee should move forward.

“I would hope the committee would report out the nominee and if the committee reports out the nominee, I'll be happy to take it up,” McConnell told reporters.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has shown no signs that he will consider nominee Mark McWatters, a Republican who worked for House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

The Ex-Im Bank lacks a quorum and needs to fill three seats on its five-member board.

Until then, the agency can't approve loans for more than $10 million, making it difficult for many U.S. firms — large and small — to get the financing guarantees they need.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewBig tech lobbying groups push Treasury to speak out on EU tax proposal Overnight Finance: Hatch announces retirement from Senate | What you can expect from new tax code | Five ways finance laws could change in 2018 | Peter Thiel bets big on bitcoin Ex-Obama Treasury secretary: Tax cuts 'leaving us broke' MORE called on the Senate to quickly fill a vacancy along with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.

“Manufacturers and other businesses need the Ex-Im Bank supporting U.S. exporters at full capacity," Timmons and Donohue said in a joint statement.

"However, without a quorum, the Ex-Im Bank cannot do this, and as a result, many exporters in the United States are stuck in neutral, unable to get their products to customers overseas."

In December, Congress reauthorized Ex-Im's charter, which has expired in June, until September 2019. The bank helps U.S. firms finance overseas projects.

Hensarling has said that the bank is an example of "crony capitalism" and needs to be shut down.