Posted: Apr. 14, 2017 8:16 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate former U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett to be president of the credit agency that helps overseas buyers get financing to purchase U.S. exports.
Garrett’s four-year term as president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank would expire Jan. 20, 2021.
Garrett voted against renewing the bank’s charter while he was in Congress, denouncing it as “corporate welfare.”
“I opposed the House’s vote to reauthorize the corporate welfare program known as the Ex-Im Bank. #CronyCapitalism,” he tweeted in 2015.
It’s a view he used to share with Trump — at least until this week.
During his campaign, Trump criticized the credit agency as an unnecessary giveaway to politicians and certain companies.
“I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s necessary,” he told Bloomberg, describing it as “sort of a featherbedding for politicians” and “a few companies.”
“And these are companies that can do very well without it. So I don’t like it. I think it’s a lot of excess baggage,” he added.
But this week Trump announced he’d changed his mind, telling The Wall Street Journal in an interview that he now supports it.
“It turns out that, first of all lots of small companies will really be helped, the vendor companies, but also maybe more importantly, other countries give it,” he said. “And when other countries give it, we lose a tremendous amount of business.”
“So instinctively,” he added, “you would say it’s a ridiculous thing but actually it’s a very good thing and it actually makes money. You know, it actually could make a lot of money.”
Garrett, a resident of Wantage, served in the House of Representatives, representing the 5th District, which includes most of Sussex County and parts of Bergen, Passaic and Warren counties, from 2003 to 2017. He lost his seat in the 2016 general election to Democrat Josh Gottheimer.
Prior to serving in the House, Garrett was a New Jersey state assemblyman from 1992 to 2003.
He holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Montclair State University and a juris doctor from Rutgers Law School.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States is an 82-year-old independent, self-sustaining agency that finances the export of U.S. goods and services.
In 2016, due to a lack of quorum on the Board of Directors, the Export-Import Bank was not able to provide full support for American jobs and the U.S. exports that create them. The last year that the bank was fully operational was 2014, according to www.exim.gov.
Trump also said he will nominate Spencer T. Bachus III of Alabama, to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank for a term of four years. Bachus is a member of Bachus and Broom, LLC, and also is a former congressman.
The bank has been hobbled in recent years without enough board members to produce a quorum, blocking it from approving transactions exceeding $10 million.
Much of the bank’s financing benefits large corporation such as The Boeing Company, General Electric and Caterpillar Inc.
Many moderate, business-minded Republican groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce support the bank. But vocal opponents, including many tea party Republicans and outside groups like the Heritage Foundation, have said it practices crony capitalism, awarding most of its financing to well-connected corporations.
Trump’s reversal on the subject is just one of several he’s made in recent days as he approaches his 100th day in office.