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 CollinsOn The Money: Economy adds 136K jobs in September | Jobless rate at 50-year low | Treasury IG to probe handling of Trump tax returns request | House presses Zuckerberg to testify on digital currency Two Collins associates plead guilty in insider trading case On The Money: Trump blames Fed as manufacturing falters | US to join Trump lawsuit over NY subpoena for tax returns | Ex-Rep. Chris Collins pleads guilty in insider trading case MORE (R-N.Y.) on Tuesday sent a letter with 66 of their colleagues to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Trump again vetoes resolution blocking national emergency for border wall Trump invites congressional leaders to meeting on Turkey MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' 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 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.

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 TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE’s nominee to lead the bank — former New Jersey Republican Rep. 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.

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.