Senate panel rejects Trump's nominee to lead Ex-Im Bank

The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday rejected President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE's nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank.

The panel, in a 10-13 vote, declined to advance the nomination of Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettBiz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank Export-Import Bank back to full strength after Senate confirmations Manufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank MORE, a former Republican congressman from New Jersey.

Two Republicans — Sens. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsGOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus Five things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Senate GOP expects vote on third coronavirus package next week MORE (S.D.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's 12:30 Report: US braces for 'hardest' week yet How much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package MORE (S.C.) — joined Democrats in opposing the nominee. 

“If there was ever somebody who didn’t belong at the helm of the Ex-Im bank, it was Scott Garrett," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHealth care workers account for 20 percent of Iowa coronavirus cases Pressure mounts on Congress for quick action with next coronavirus bill Schumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House MORE (D-N.Y.). 

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Schumer called on Trump to withdraw Garrett's nomination and choose someone who will "fulfill the mission of the Ex-Im bank." 

Garrett's nomination proved deeply controversial with the Banking Committee, and his chances of being recommended by the panel seemed to plunge last week when Rounds announced he would oppose Garrett. Yet the White House refused to pull his name from consideration.

Marc Short, the White House's legislative affairs director, on Tuesday said it was disappointing "that the Senate Banking Committee missed this opportunity to get the Export-Import Bank fully functioning again."

Short said the White House will "work with the committee on a path forward."

At his confirmation hearing last month, senators from both parties grilled Garrett over his push to disband the Ex-Im Bank as a member of Congress.

While in the House, Garrett was among the conservatives who persistently tried to shut down the Ex-Im Bank on the grounds that its “crony capitalism distorts the market to help some of America’s biggest companies."

Senators questioned whether his views had changed and asked why he should be allowed to lead the agency now.

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Garrett vowed that he would let the bank “continue to fully operate,” but many of the senators were unconvinced.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president Senate Democrats propose ,000 hazard-pay plan for essential workers MORE of Ohio, the top Democrat on the panel, on Tuesday said senators from both parties left that Nov. 1 hearing without any concrete proof that Garrett had actually changed his mind about Ex-Im.

Rounds said he opposed Garrett's nomination “because I believe he’s a principled man who simply believes in the abolishment of the bank.”

“I think that strong desire on his part to see it abolished as an example of crony capitalism would not have worked in the operation of the bank,” he said during the hearing. 

“So while I wish him no ill, I do believe that he was not the right person to be the chairman,” he said.

Rounds said he wants to work with the White House to find a chairman who would work to reform the bank rather than kill it. 

Major business groups in Washington, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, waged an aggressive campaign against Garrett, accusing him of harboring an ideological agenda for the agency.

“The Senate Banking Committee did right by America’s manufacturing workers today by rejecting Scott Garrett’s nomination,” said Jay Timmons, the group's president and CEO. 

“This agency, which has supported 1.4 million jobs over the past several years, is too important for manufacturers and our economy to be led by someone who has consistently tried to destroy it,” Timmons said. 

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The committee on Tuesday did approve four other nominees to serve on the Ex-Im board — Kimberly Reed, Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusManufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank Biz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank On The Money: White House files notice of China tariff hikes | Dems cite NYT report in push for Trump tax returns | Trump hits Iran with new sanctions | Trump praises GM for selling shuttered Ohio factory | Ex-Im Bank back at full strength MORE, Judith Pryor and Claudia Slacik. If they are confirmed by the Senate, that would give Ex-Im a quorum, allowing the agency to approve business deals of greater than $10 million.

The bank has lacked a quorum for nearly two years. The Banking panel under then-Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyGraham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill Five things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens MORE (R-Ala.) refused to consider former President Obama’s nominees for the bank's board.

Brown said that there are $37 billion worth of deals in the Ex-Im pipeline more than $10 million. About $8 billion to $10 billion of those could potentially be approved within a month, he said.

Timmons urged the Senate to quickly confirm the other four nominees so the Ex-Im Bank can operate at full strength. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash Phase-four virus relief hits a wall MORE's (R-Ky.) office said they had no guidance about whether the Senate would take up the four nominations to the five-member board. 

The Ex-Im Bank lends money to foreign buyers to promote U.S. exports, with Boeing and General Electric the two biggest beneficiaries of the financing. 

A GE spokesperson said the committee’s vote against Garrett is “a milestone for manufacturers across the U.S. whose customers require a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank.” 

“We urge the full Senate to move quickly on behalf of U.S. workers and companies of all sizes to guarantee the Bank can once again operate at full strength,” the spokesperson said.

- This story was updated at 1:39 p.m. Jordan Fabian contributed.