Trump Nominates Fierce Critic of Ex-Im Bank to Lead Agency

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

Continuing a tradition of nominating people who hate the organizations they have been selected to run (Rick Perry at Energy, Scott Pruitt at EPA), President Donald Trump has nominated a vocal critic of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to head the lending agency.

Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), who voted twice against reauthorizing the bank while in Congress, will be nominated as president of the bank. Separately, former Rep. Spencer T. Bachus III (R-Ala.) will be nominated to join the bank’s board. Both nominees require congressional confirmation.

Garrett, a deeply conservative Congressman who helped found the House Freedom Caucus, has in the past heavily criticized the agency he may now be tasked with leading. In a speech on the floor of the House in 2015, Garrett called the Ex-Im Bank a “fund for corporate welfare” and “a bank that embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system.”

The bank, which offers financial support to U.S. exporters, is despised by some conservative Republicans, who have forced it to remain effectively dormant for nearly two years. Yet the appointments themselves could allow the bank to resume lending in earnest, after being effectively barred from acting by a lack of leadership.

Trump opposed the bank during the campaign, but indicated he planned to reopen the bank for business in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday — one of several recent decisions by the president that suggest a shift in his views on economic policy.

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