WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following President Trump’s meeting with business leaders today to discuss job creation, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the President to promptly submit nominations to the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s board of directors in order to restore the bank’s full lending powers. The Ex-Im Bank’s ability to boost American manufacturing jobs has been hobbled by the lack of a board member.
With three empty seats on its five-member board of directors, Ex-Im lacks a quorum, which means the bank cannot approve any medium- or long-term transactions – generally those valued over $10 million. As a result, Ex-Im has a $30 billion backlog of loan applications that need the board’s approval. These delays are hurting U.S. workers, businesses, and their supply chains.
“The Export-Import Bank needs to function at full capacity so that it can help American businesses of all sizes - including the thousands of companies in supply chains in my state alone - grow, create jobs, and compete,” said Brown, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “General Electric and other companies have already made plans to move jobs out of the United States to take advantage of export financing abroad. If President Trump is serious about helping American manufacturing workers, he should call on Senate Republicans to get Ex-Im back to full strength before we lose out on even more U.S. jobs.”
For more than a year, Senate Republicans have blocked Ex-Im board nominees, including Mark McWatters, a Republican, and Claudia Slacik, a Democrat. McWatters was a top aide to House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), and was recommended for the Ex-Im post by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In the last Congress, Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings or confirmation votes on McWatters and Slacik.
President Obama re-nominated Slacik to Ex-Im’s board in January. Also last month, President Trump appointed McWatters as acting chairman of the National Credit Union Administration.