Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., voiced his strong concerns with the Export-Import Bank during a hearing to examine President Donald J Trump’s (R) six nominations to lead the bank.
“I believe the Export-Import Bank is now a body rampant with corporate cronyism, corruption, and unaccountability,” Shelby said. “Latest estimates indicate that the Export-Import Bank finances only two percent of total U.S. exports. This means 98 percent of exports from the U.S. are generated without the Bank’s financing.”
Shelby pointed out that, “some large businesses have enough capital to buy their own bank,” and that “large corporations do not need the Export-Import Bank to run an efficient export operation.”
“I am never one to begrudge businesses for being successful,” Shelby said. “We want them all to be successful. However, the problem with the way the Bank currently operates is that it puts American taxpayers on the hook for deals that these large businesses could independently finance.”
Shelby also discussed his support for Former Congressman Scott Garrett, President Trump’s nominee to head the Export-Import Bank, and he urged his colleagues to advance all of the president’s Export-Import Bank nominees.
“I believe that Mr. Garrett is a man of principle,” Shelby said. “I have worked with him when he was on the Financial Services Committee. I believe he would be excellent. He is a principled man, and we need those kind of people at the bank. I hope we keep everybody together and that we confirm everybody. If we do not, we will see what we can do to slow the process down because the bank is still corporate welfare.”
Sen. Shelby met with Garrett in August regarding his nomination.
President Donald Trump first announced his intent to nominate Garrett to be president of the Export-Import Bank in April. Garrett formerly served as New Jersey’s congressman for the Fifth District from 2003 to 2017. During Garrett’s time in the U.S. House of Representatives, he chaired the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment.
On the same day that Trump appointed Garrett, he also appointed former Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) to the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank.
Some conservatives tried to block renewal of the bank in 2015; but ultimately, supporters of the bank were able to get a renewal bill passed in December 2015, just five months after Congress allowed it to expire.
51 Alabama companies use the Export-Import Bank facilitating $326 million in exports for the state.
Shelby is a senior member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.