December 20, 2017
Former Congressman Scott Garrett, President Trump's conservative pick to head and reform the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, was hit from both sides in his hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. Like Trump, the New Jersey representative opposed the agency during his time in Congress. Both men had hoped to abolish the bank but changed their minds once they realized what a principled leader could do to reform the organization. However, liberals helped defeat Garrett, citing his outstanding fiscal and social conservatism, including his belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. Other groups like the National Association of Manufacturers launched ads against his confirmation.
A well-respected fighter for fiscal discipline and an opponent of crony capitalism, Scott Garrett had railed against the excesses of the Ex-Im Bank making him the perfect nominee to reform this troubled agency. Unfortunately, the supporters of the Ex-Im Bank on both sides of the aisle defeated his nomination with two Republicans joining all Democrats on the committee to defeat his nomination.
None should have opposed Scott Garrett's nomination for being a reformer, since this agency needs it so badly. The Ex-Im Bank had seven hundred and ninety-two fraud claims documented between October 2007, and March 2014, and many of the investigations into these claims are ongoing. In addition, since 2009 forty-eight criminal judgments have been rendered against Ex-Im Bank beneficiaries or employees, yielding sixty-six years of prison sentences. The Ex-Im Bank needed Rep. Garrett as a leader who can institute reforms that ensure taxpayer dollars are not being wasted by fraudulent bureaucrats. Now without the steady hand of a reformer like Rep. Garrett, conservatives have little reason to support continued funding for the Ex-Im Bank. If huge businesses like Boeing, which benefit from the taxpayer supported agency, oppose having a reformer at the head, then the Trump administration should shut down the bank, or at a minimum leave the board vacancies unfilled so that it cannot function.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.