Trump taps nominee to lead Export-Import Bank

Trump taps nominee to lead Export-Import Bank
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE on Wednesday nominated Kimberly Reed to lead the Export-Import Bank, taking a step toward getting the agency running back at full lending strength.

The 84-year-old bank has been in financial limbo over the past three years, short of enough members on its board of directors to make loans above $10 million.

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The pipeline for loans is backed up with more than $40 billion worth of export deals.

During her November confirmation hearing, Reed said that she looked "forward to bringing two decades of bipartisan experience to my work at the Bank, which has more than 400 dedicated career professionals."

While the bank has become an "important source of funding for small businesses and an avenue for job creation" that reforms are still needed, she said. 

Reed, who also has worked on Capitol Hill, said a House lawmaker once warned her "against unilateral disarmament in a fiercely competitive global economy."

Business leaders, who have been frustrated by Congress’s inaction on the Ex-Im Bank because they say that lucrative overseas deals have been slipping away from American companies, applauded Reed's nomination.

“Kimberly Reed is a sterling choice for the Export-Import Bank, and in nominating her to lead the agency, President Trump is standing with America’s manufacturing workers," said National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons.

"For too long now, the Ex-Im Bank has been hobbled, unable to ever consider action on large deals, while manufacturers lose out on business and jobs to our overseas competitors," Timmons said.

NAM says that at least 85 foreign government-backed export credit agencies, including those in China, are working aggressively to support their domestic industries.

Reed, who worked at the Treasury Department in President George W. Bush's administration, was approved in December for a position to serve as the Ex-Im's first vice president by the Senate Banking Committee.

After Reed and several others were approved for board slots, the banking panel's Republicans rejected Trump's first nominee to head up the bank, former Republican 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 because he had tried to shutter Ex-Im while in Congress.

That left the bank's future in a state of further uncertainty.

Then several Senate Republicans said they wouldn't confirm the board members without a nominee for president of the bank who they could support.

Ex-Im has been without a confirmed chairman since Trump took office last year and has been without a quorum —at least three members of a five-member board — since late 2015.

In April, Trump tapped Jeffrey Gerrish, who also is employed by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), to be acting Ex-Im president.

The designation by Trump didn't require congressional approval.