Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees

Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees
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A bipartisan group of 68 House lawmakers are urging Senate leaders to get the Export-Import Bank running at full speed again.

Reps. Denny HeckDennis (Denny) Lynn HeckExclusive: Guccifer 2.0 hacked memos expand on Pennsylvania House races Heck enjoys second political wind Incoming lawmaker feeling a bit overwhelmed MORE (D-Wash.) and Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsGOP lawmakers back discharge petition to force immigration votes GOP in retreat on ObamaCare Obstacles for Trump in push to expand the death penalty MORE (R-N.Y.) on Tuesday sent a letter with 66 of their colleagues to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress Parkland father calls out Trump, McConnell, Ryan after Santa Fe shooting Overnight Finance: House rejects farm bill in conservative revolt | NAFTA deal remains elusive as talks drag on | Dodd-Frank rollback set for House vote MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer: GOP efforts to identify FBI informant 'close to crossing a legal line' Patients deserve the 'right to try' How the embassy move widens the partisan divide over Israel MORE (D-N.Y.) urging the upper chamber to quickly confirm four nominees to the Ex-Im Bank’s board of directors.

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“We believe the Senate should move forward expediently in approving these nominees so that Ex-Im can continue to play the important role it has in past years, supporting U.S. exports and creating and maintaining U.S. jobs,” the letter said.

Manufacturers and other business groups also have pushed the Senate to move forward quickly on filling empty bank board jobs. 

In December, the Senate Banking Committee approved four nominees to the Ex-Im board — Kimberly Reed, 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, Judith Pryor and Claudia Slacik.

But the Senate has yet to vote to confirm them. 

"The importance of Ex-Im in the ever-growing international market cannot be understated," the lawmakers wrote.

"This entity allows American companies to compete against the more than 79 nations that maintain export credit agencies to assist their nation’s exports, including top exporters like China, Canada and Mexico."

The panel in December blocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpMexican presidential candidate vows to fire back at Trump's 'offensive' tweets Elizabeth Warren urges grads to fight for 'what is decent' in current political climate Jim Carrey takes aim at Kent State grad who posed with AR-10 MORE’s nominee to lead the bank — former New Jersey Republican Rep. 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.

Banking Committee lawmakers weren't convinced that Garrett, who had actively tried to shut down the Ex-Im Bank during his time in Congress, had changed his mind about the bank's mission.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Garrett had taken a job advising Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton.

The White House has yet to nominate anyone else to helm the bank.

Since 2015, the Ex-Im Bank has been without a quorum on its board, which prohibits the agency from making deals of more than $10 million. 

The Ex-Im’s five-member board needs at least three spots filled to make those transactions.

Without a quorum in fiscal 2017, the bank only authorized $2.4 billion in loans, guarantees and insurance, supporting just 2,412 exporters, 40,000 jobs and $7.4 billion in U.S. export sales, the letter said.

That is a sharp decline from 2014, when the bank approved $20.5 billion in business, which supported 3,563 exporters, 165,000 jobs, and $27.5 billion in exports.