Manufacturers roundly reject Garrett for Ex-Im Bank chief

Manufacturers roundly reject Garrett for Ex-Im Bank chief
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The nominee to lead the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank — former Rep. Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettManufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank Trump taps nominee to lead Export-Import Bank Who has the edge for 2018: Republicans or Democrats? MORE (R-N.J.) — has proven to be not only an embarrassment to our president but also an enemy of America’s manufacturing workers.

He has failed to fight for manufacturing workers in the past, and he would fail them again if confirmed. That’s why Garrett should do the president and manufacturers a favor: Withdraw from consideration to lead the Ex-Im Bank.

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Manufacturers in America are buoyed by President Donald Trump’s commitment to our industry and our workers. In fact, they have responded in an overwhelmingly positive manner to his agenda for economic growth and job creation in our quarterly economic surveys. These surveys have shown 20-year record-high levels of confidence and optimism.

 

That same positive sentiment extends to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE’s commitment he has shown for a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank. Specifically, the president has endorsed the vital role of the Ex-Im Bank in leveling the playing field for manufacturers in the United States with our global competitors, saying, “It’s a very good thing…and it actually makes money; it could make a lot of money.” 

Manufacturers have been disgusted with how the agency has been used as a political football at the expense of manufacturing jobs and workers throughout our country in recent years. Garrett’s hostility toward the Ex-Im Bank has been very much a part of that gamesmanship. 

Garrett’s record on the Ex-Im Bank is clear: He tried to kill it in Congress while demonstrating he doesn’t understand how it works. No matter what he says at his upcoming confirmation hearing, no one should be fooled into believing he’s now a true supporter of the agency — at a time when he just happens to be looking for a new job.

In 2012 and again in 2015, Garrett voted to shutter the Ex-Im Bank, even declaring, “We have the opportunity today to keep the Export-Import Bank out of business. We should take each of those opportunities.” 

Garrett’s zealous efforts to destroy the Ex-Im Bank disrespect hardworking Americans and their families and have been a stinging slap in the face to the communities our manufacturing workers call home.

Now there’s talk that Garrett has suddenly morphed into a “reformer.” That’s a typical Washington game, and manufacturing workers are not fooled by his new siren song. Repeated calls throughout his entire career to put this critical job-supporting agency “out of business” is not the talk of “reform.”

To be sure, Garrett is not a reformer. He’s a destroyer, and anyone who values the livelihoods of American manufacturing workers should not let him anywhere near the Ex-Im Bank. It is too late for him to change his well-established record or secure our trust with empty words about reform. 

The Ex-Im Bank plays a vital role in manufacturing in the United States, allowing our exporters to compete on a global scale for the 95 percent of consumers who are located outside our borders. By supporting exporters and financing hundreds of billions of dollars in American sales, the Ex-Im Bank has been a key component in powering U.S. exports, which have driven more than one-third of economic growth in the United States since 2009.

The other four nominees who will round out the Ex-Im Bank’s Board of Governors are dedicated to a fully functioning agency that supports manufacturing jobs in the United States. That’s why manufacturers support the nominations of Kimberly Reed, Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusThe key for EXIM's future lies in accountability Manufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank Manufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board MORE, Judith Delzoppo Pryor and Claudia Slacik.

Garrett’s disregard for the Ex-Im Bank will also have direct, negative consequences for small manufacturers. About 90 percent of the bank’s transactions are for small manufacturers trying to gain a foothold in important foreign markets. 

So, if we want to continue to take American manufacturing to new heights and see the real progress achieved that the president has set in motion, the Senate must reject Garrett if he refuses to listen to manufacturers and withdraw himself. There’s no other choice.

Letting Garrett lead the Ex-Im Bank would undermine the goal of lifting up and empowering American workers — as President Trump is committed to do. There’s nothing to gain with Garrett’s confirmation, but American workers have so much to lose. Garrett should seek employment elsewhere.

Jay Timmons is the president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.