Brown Opening Statement at Banking Committee Hearing on Nominations to the Export-Import Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following opening statement at today’s hearing on the nominations to the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow.

Mr. Chairman, today we will hear from the six nominees whom President Trump has put forward to lead the Export-Import Bank. 

I applaud the President for recognizing the need to have a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank so that the United States does not continue to lose jobs and contracts to foreign competitors.

The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in 2015 to reauthorize the bank.  But since that vote, Congress has starved the bank of the nominees it needs to function.

For nearly two years, Ex-Im has been unable to assist medium- and long-term transactions larger than 10 million dollars.  As a result, American jobs have been lost.

The Bank has been forced to sit on more than 30 billion dollars’ worth of transactions that cannot close until a quorum on the board is restored.  If these deals fail, and some will because of delay, the blame lies squarely with the opponents here in Congress.

Meanwhile, the doors of foreign export credit agencies are wide open for business.  France, Germany and Italy each provided $9 to $10 billion of medium and long-term export credit last year. China provides more credit every two years than Ex-Im has over its entire 80-year history.

In the face of that foreign competition, Mr. Garrett, has called for unilateral disarmament.  During his time in Congress, he was a leader of the effort to slam shut the doors of America’s export financing bank. 

Opponents of the bank like Mr. Garrett have ignored basic facts, manufactured false allegations, and disregarded common sense to justify their position.

Confirming Mr. Garrett as President of Ex-Im would be like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.

The opposition to Mr. Garrett’s nomination is overwhelming.  The National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce and Aerospace Industries Association all oppose Mr. Garrett. State manufacturing organizations and small business men and women from across the country have also registered their opposition.  

Mr. Garrett may argue this morning that he has had a change of heart about the bank.  But you cannot change who you are.

Time and again, Mr. Garrett has shown he lacks the temperament to run an agency.  He clearly would not treat all Americans as equals.  And he’s even complained that “other ethnicities” will “say yes to you constantly and then you’ll realize they didn’t really mean it.”

Now to be fair, Mr. Garrett said he didn’t mean ethnicities, but people in other countries. 

This is the man who would lead the Export-Import Bank.

The Ex-Im Bank needs a President who will stand up for American jobs.  The bank needs a leader who believes in its mission, who would be respectful of other opinions, and yes, of people who are different from him.

That person is not Scott Garrett.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.