Finance

Manufacturers support Reed to helm Ex-Im Bank

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After years in limbo, the Senate Banking Committee is taking a small step to get the Export-Import Bank running at full strength again with the backing of business groups.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said head of a Thursday morning hearing that it supports the committee’s consideration Kimberly Reed to helm the bank.

NAM said in a letter to committee leaders that it is confident that “Reed will bring to the Ex-Im Bank strong experience in financial management and banking issues.”

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“That experience, along with her strong recognition of the importance of the Ex-Im Bank to grow manufacturing and jobs in the United States, will provide much-needed leadership to ensure the Ex-Im Bank operates effectively to advance America’s export success, while ensuring proper fiscal operations at the agency,” wrote Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs for NAM.

Reed was part of a group of nominees easily approved in December to join the Ex-Im Bank’s board of directors.

But President Trump’s first nominee — former Republican Rep. Scott Garrett — failed to get through the committee at the time. 

Instead of nominating someone else to run the bank, in April, Trump tapped Jeffrey Gerrish, who also works for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), to be acting Ex-Im Bank president.

Finally in June, Trump tapped Reed, a former Treasury Department official in President George W. Bush’s administration, for the post. 

The Ex-Im Bank 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.

That has put the 84-year-old bank in financial limbo over the past three years, short too many board members to make loans above $10 million.

Currently, there are nearly $43 billion in deals that are stuck in the pipeline due to the lack of a quorum, Dempsey wrote in the letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member on the panel.

Dempsey said Reed “is a superb choice” and the group supports quick action by the panel and the full Senate on her nomination.

There also are several pending nominees to the Ex-Im Bank board — Spencer Bachus, Claudia Slacik and Judith Pryor — all of whom the committee has already reported out favorably, that could move through the Senate. 

“Vacancies on the Ex-Im board of directors jeopardize the future of these small businesses and the 1.4 million jobs that the agency has supported over the past eight years,” Dempsey wrote. 

Tags Donald Trump Export–Import Bank of the United States Mike Crapo Scott Garrett Senate Banking Committee Sherrod Brown Spencer Bachus

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