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

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The bank has become a popular target for conservatives, who worked in Congress to kill the institution, arguing that it perpetuates cronyism and does little to create American jobs. Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a longtime critic of the bank, tweeted displeasure about the Ex-Im Bank moments after the White House announced Garrett's nomination.

Now, however, Trump has had a change of heart because the CEO of Boeing - which benefits greatly from the bank - pulled him aside and explained how it works, reports the Wall Street Journal.

During the election campaign, Mr. Trump dismissed the obscure lending agency as "featherbedding" for politicians and huge companies that don't need it, enthusing opponents who had squeezed its lending powers and said it should die off. Both nominations must be ratified by the Senate.

Trump himself was a critic of the Ex-Im Bank, which is the federal government's export credit agency and has been labeled a form of "corporate welfare" by some conservatives. Bachus, who served on Capitol Hill from 1993 to 2014 and supported the bank's reauthorization.

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.

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).

Fiscal conservatives typically oppose the Export-Import Bank, which provides federally subsidized loans to overseas companies so that they can buy American products.

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.

"Instinctively, you would say, 'Isn't that a ridiculous thing?" "But actually, it's a very good thing". In 2014, the previous year that the Ex-Im Bank was fully operational, financing topped $20 billion and profits totaled $675 million. "And it actually makes money, it could make a lot of money".

In 2015 the bank authorized more than $2.6 billion in financing and insurance supporting American small businesses, about half the prior year's total.

Congressional supporters of the bank failed a year ago to revive the higher lending limit.



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