The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is urging Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to oppose President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Export-Import Bank.
A former New Jersey congressman who opposed the Ex-Im Bank's existence while a representative, Scott Garrett was officially tapped by the White House last month, Politico reported.
Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts said in a statement Wednesday the Export-Import Bank is "crucial" to the growth and success of the state's manufacturing industry and its workers.
"For that reason, the Ex-Im Bank needs a leader who is focused on reforming it, not undermining it," he said. "With so many jobs in our state depending on an Ex-Im bank that is open and operational, we urge Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to oppose the nomination of Scott Garrett.”
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Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the national Association of Manufacturers, or NAM, has also strongly opposed Garrett's nomination, spelled out in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.
Graham, who called Garrett's nomination “very problematic,” according to a spokesperson, told New Jersey newspaper The Record in May, “If you're going to try to be a Trojan horse, try to shut down the bank, you probably won't get confirmed. … I just don't want somebody who doesn't believe in it being chairman of it.”
The Export-Import bank provides loans, guarantees and credit insurance to U.S. businesses that want to put their products on the global market. Businesses say the agency is critical in financing deals commercial banks won't.
In 2015, a Republican-led Congress allowed the bank to briefly expire, stopping business for five months, until Congress eventually decided to renew the bank through 2019.
That decision led General Electric Co., which has produced power-producing turbines in Greenville since 1968, to announce in September 2015 a total of 500 jobs would move out of the U.S.
"The U.S. remains the only major economy in the world without a fully functioning export bank," a GE spokesperson told The Greenville News in March. "GE has 100,000 employees in the United States with the best manufacturing facilities, including 20 new sites we have added over the last five years. In order for American companies to export outside the U.S. many customers require export credit agency funding. If Congress wants to put more jobs in this country, we need the Export-Import Bank to be functioning."