Trump wants Ex-Im Bank critic Gar­rett to run trou­bled in­sti­tu­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVE BOYER

Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced his in­ten­tion to nom­i­nate for­mer Rep. Scott Gar­rett, a found­ing mem­ber of the con­ser­va­tive House Free­dom Cau­cus, to head the Ex­port-Im­port Bank that Mr. Gar­rett wanted to put out of busi­ness only two years ago.

Mr. Trump tapped Mr. Gar­rett, a seven-term New Jersey Repub­li­can who lost his re-elec­tion bid last year, late on Fri­day night. Af­ter his loss, Mr. Gar­rett had vis­ited Trump Tower dur­ing the tran­si­tion to ex­press an in­ter­est in work­ing in the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The move could sig­nal that Mr. Trump is reach­ing out to the Free­dom Cau­cus, whose sup­port he is seek­ing for stalled leg­is­la­tion to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare. The pres­i­dent and con­gres­sional Repub­li­can lead­ers view that step as an es­sen­tial pre­lude to tax re­form and tax cuts later this year.

The pres­i­dent also said he will nom­i­nate for­mer Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama Repub­li­can, to serve as a mem­ber of the board of di­rec­tors of the Ex­port-Im­port Bank for a term of four years. Mr. Bachus led the House Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in 2012 when the Ex­port-Im­port Bank was reau­tho­rized.

Dur­ing last year’s cam­paign, Mr. Trump sided with con­ser­va­tive crit­i­cism of the Ex­portIm­port Bank, which guar­an­tees loans for U.S. busi­nesses. It has come un­der fire from anti-es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans as a form of “crony cap­i­tal­ism.”

But this week Mr. Trump re­versed his stance and voiced sup­port for the work of the Ex­portIm­port Bank, say­ing it sup­ports U.S. jobs.

In 2015 Mr. Gar­rett urged Congress to let the Ex­port-Im­port Bank ex­pire, call­ing it a “bi­ased ac­tor” that picked win­ners and losers in the economy.

“It’s hard to imag­ine any­thing more un­fair and un-Amer­i­can than hav­ing the gov­ern­ment fi­nan­cially sup­port mega-cor­po­ra­tions at the ex­pense of small busi­nesses and Amer­i­can work­ers,” Mr. Gar­rett said at the time. “But that is ex­actly what has been hap­pen­ing, and it will con­tinue to hap­pen if we don’t let the Ex­portIm­port Bank ex­pire.”

He went on to say that the bank “re­wards those with close re­la­tion­ships with Wash­ing­ton bu­reau­crats and makes vic­tims of star­tups that dare to com­pete against them.”

In vot­ing to let the bank ex­pire, Mr. Gar­rett said Congress had “the op­por­tu­nity to save cap­i­tal­ism from crony­ism and to ful­fill a prom­ise to the Amer­i­can peo­ple to work for them in­stead of a select few with spe­cial con­nec­tions in Wash­ing­ton.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced his in­ten­tion to nom­i­nate for­mer Rep. Scott Gar­rett, New Jersey Repub­li­can, to run the Ex­port-Im­port Bank, an in­sti­tu­tion Mr. Gar­rett once proudly said should be com­pletely abol­ished.

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