Saturday, 24 June, 2017

Trump picks critic to lead Ex-Im Bank he once opposed

GE CEO praises Trump for Export Import Bank support Trump riles conservatives by reversing campaign stance, embracing Ex-Im Bank
Juana Turner | 16 April, 2017, 00:58

President Trump has wisely reversed his previous opposition to the operation of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and has made a decision to nominate two people to fill the vacancies in the Board of Trustees at the Bank.

U.S. President Donald Trump nominated former Republican lawmaker Scott Garrett as president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States on Friday, completing an about-face over an institution he had denounced as "featherbedding" for big business.

In the past, Garrett was openly critical of the Ex-Im Bank, tweeting in 2015: "I opposed the House's vote to reauthorize the corporate welfare program known as the Ex-Im Bank".

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Small-government conservatives shut down the bank in 2015 by blocking its reauthorization. The bank helps US firms sell their products overseas by offering cheap, federally guaranteed loans and other forms of financial support.

But he's now changed his mind, telling The Wall Street Journal earlier this week that he believes it helps USA companies gain business. Bachus chaired the House Financial Services Committee and was a supporter of the agency while in Congress. And when other countries give it, we lose a tremendous amount of business. After bipartisan support for a renewal of the bank's charter, conservatives then blocked nominees to the board.

Trump's previous refusal to name candidates for the two vacancies on the bank's five-member board has prevented it from having a quorum and being able to act on loans over $10 million (9.4 million euros).

The Ex-Im Bank is often maligned as the "Bank of Boeing", but about 90% of its 3,746 authorizations for guarantees, insurance and working capital in 2014 and $5.1 billion of its authorized funds went to US small businesses.

The bank said it sends any surplus from the interest and fees it assesses back to the Treasury, resulting in a $5.6 billion profit for taxpayers since fiscal 2007. "So instinctively you would say it's a ridiculous thing, but actually, it's a very good thing and it actually makes money".

Conservative groups including Club for Growth, Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity have long opposed the bank, saying it promotes crony capitalism.

How Garrett might alter the bank's operations to win support from conservative Republicans remains to be seen.

Congressional supporters of the bank failed a year ago to revive the higher lending limit. This financing supported 164,000 American jobs that year, according to the bank, and about 90 percent of the bank's deals helped small businesses.

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