After his nomination he pledged to keep the bank "fully open" but struggled to persuade senators that he now believed in the bank's core mission of providing taxpayer-backed loans and guarantees for USA export transactions.
Scott Garrett, who was a tea-party-aligned Republican congressman from New Jersey until he lost his re-election bid in 2016, has faced intense opposition from the business community ― corporations like General Electric Co. and Boeing ― and many traditional GOP allies, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S. Ex-Im is an independent, self-sustaining Executive Branch agency with a mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services. Its backers say the agency allows US companies to compete on equal footing with foreign rivals that receive similar support from their home governments. Others, like the conservative Club for Growth, say that it is a mechanism for corporate welfare and creates an uneven playing field, including the Club for Growth. In 2015, he called the Export-Import Bank an institution that "embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system". "It will continue to approve the many loans that support our American manufacturers' ability to export their products". Scott had doubts about Garrett. Mike Rounds (R-SD) left without evidence to think Garrett is the right choice. Warner has been a longtime supporter of Ex-Im, introducing legislation to reauthorize its operations and increase its spending authority following a historic lapse in Congressional approval in July 2015.
"Mr. Garrett was a leader of the effort to slam shut the doors of America's export financing bank, and he can't hide his contempt for Ex-Im", said Senator Sherrod Brown of OH, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee.
Garrett would not, however, say he regretted or wished to retract past statements he'd made opposing the bank's existence. Instead, Garrett said he was no longer in favor of abolishing the bank because Trump is now president, and he simply wants to run it instead. "Boening is the bank's "largest benefactor" and if the "bank scales back or stops operating, Boeing's largest competitor, European-owned Airbus", will benefit".
The 83-year-old bank provides favorable financing to USA firms seeking to sell their products overseas, such as aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and protects them against foreign buyer defaults.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is on the banking committee, joined Democrats in rejecting Garrett.
"If worldwide customers of tractors, turbines, airplanes or satellites can't get financing from the United States, they'll simply take their business elsewhere to one of the dozens of other countries with similar export-credit assistance", Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said last December.