Manufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board

Manufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board
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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is ramping up pressure on the Senate to quickly vote on four nominees to get the Export-Import Bank back up and running at full speed. 

Jay Timmons, the head of NAM, sent a letter on Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.) and the rest of the Senate urging lawmakers to schedule votes for nominees to the Export-Import Bank’s board of directors, which will become vacant on Friday. 

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"The lack of a functioning Ex-Im Bank is not only one of those serious economic problems, but also one that can be easily solved given the strong bipartisan support for confirmation of the four Ex-Im Bank nominees,” Timmons wrote in a letter obtained by The Hill. 

“Manufacturers want to see holds on these nominees lifted and swift action to move these nominations to the floor for consideration as soon as possible,” he wrote. 

The four nominees — 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 — were approved by the Senate Banking Committee in December.

But 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 New Jersey Republican and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE's nominee to lead the bank, failed to gain the banking panel's support, leaving Ex-Im's fate in limbo. 

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.

Trump has yet to choose anyone else to take the helm at the Ex-Im Bank.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) has so far stymied Senate action.

Toomey, who has called the bank a form of corporate welfare, had initially asked for the four nominees and Garrett to be confirmed together in the Senate.

Conservatives have repeatedly tried to shut down the bank, although it enjoys healthy bipartisan support in the House and Senate. 

The agency's five-member board will be vacant on Friday when Scott Schloegel, who announced his resignation last week, departs his seat.

The Ex-Im Bank has been without a quorum — at least three members — on its board for more than two years, meaning it has been unable to consider deals greater than $10 million.

Manufacturers argue that they have lost billions of dollars in deals and that has deprived U.S. workers of good-paying jobs that would have been supported by Ex-Im Bank business. 

"As a result, countries in Europe and beyond have been luring U.S. manufacturers to set up shop overseas to take advantage of foreign export financing because the U.S. system is effectively broken," Timmons wrote. 

Last month, a bipartisan group of 68 House lawmakers urged Republican and Democratic Senate leaders to vote on the nominees.