Business pressure ramps up against Trump's Ex-Im nominee

Business pressure ramps up against Trump's Ex-Im nominee

Business pressure is ramping up against President Trump’s nominee to head the Export-Import Bank.

Business Roundtable (BRT) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are two of the major business groups pledging their opposition to former congressman Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettTrump taps USTR's Gerrish as acting head of Export-Import Bank Frustrated execs clamor for action on bank nominees Manufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board MORE in his bid for the job.

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The latest volley came on Friday from BRT, which posted a statement in a series of tweets.

“BRT cannot support Scott Garrett or any #ExIm nominee who does not demonstrate strong support for the bank and commitment to get it promptly back to work, fully executing its mission,” the tweets said. “When fully functioning, #ExIm bank helps businesses of all sizes expand U.S. exports and support American jobs.”

NAM is urging the president to withdraw Garrett’s nomination.

Earlier this month, NAM CEO Jay Timmons wrote a scathing op-end in The Wall Street Journal saying that Garrett’s "record of aggressively undermining the Ex-Im Bank is tantamount to a vicious trade war against American manufacturing workers."

He called Garrett a "destroyer" not a reformer.

“Those like Mr. Garrett who have stood in the path of a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank are responsible for moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to other countries,” Timmons wrote in the Wall Street Journal op-ed.

“The president should withdraw his nomination,” he said.

Garrett, the former New Jersey Republican lawmaker, consistently opposed authorizing the bank during his years in Congress and worked to close the agency.

There has been some talk that Trump is trying to figure out how to pull Garrett’s nomination from consideration. But so far no moves have been made.

Business groups have battled with conservative members of Congress over the past two years trying to get the bank back to full strength after a nearly six-month shutdown in 2015. A lack of a quorum on the bank's board has further hampered the agency from making deals over $10 million.

During the campaign, Trump initially opposed extending the bank's life. But he seemed to change his mind after taking office, telling several Democratic and Republican lawmakers that the agency would be beneficial for U.S. businesses. 

Then he nominated Garrett, creating more confusion about where exactly he stood, leading to the now steady backlash from groups that use the bank and say it is vital to their export efforts.

The S.C. Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Manufacturers' Association are among state-level groups expressing opposition to Garrett’s nomination.

On top of that, General Electric and Boeing are working against Garrett getting the job.

Timmons noted that in 2012 and 2015, Garrett voted against multiyear reauthorizations of the bank and said to his House colleagues: “We have the opportunity today to keep the Export-Import Bank out of business. We should take each of those opportunities.”

There has been little discussion about Garrett’s nomination since Trump officially sent his name to Capitol Hill on June 20 after nominating him during the Easter recess in the spring. 

A hearing on his nomination has yet to be scheduled and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoRyan: GOP has deal on bill easing Dodd-Frank The incredible state of small business in America Overnight Cybersecurity: DHS chief eyes new ways to bolster cyber workforce | Dems grill Diamond and Silk | Senate panel approves bill to protect Mueller | Two-thirds of agencies using email fraud tool MORE (R-Idaho) has told reporters he wants to deal with all Ex-Im Bank nominees at the same time.

Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusManufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE, a Republican from Alabama, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and an Ex-Im Bank supporter, was nominated to fill one of vacancies on the board.

There also is uncertainty among Republican lawmakers who have been supportive of the bank, including Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting Kim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays Overnight Finance: Watchdog weighs probe into handling of Cohen bank records | Immigration fight threatens farm bill | House panel rebukes Trump on ZTE | Trump raises doubts about trade deal with China MORE of South Carolina.

Graham has called Garrett's nomination "very problematic."

In 2014, the last year Ex-Im Bank was fully operational, it supported $27.5 billion in exports and sent $674 million in profits to the Treasury Department. 

The 82-year-old agency authorized only $5 billion in financing in fiscal 2016, the lowest level in 40 years.