Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture this week to attempt to break the political logjam against three of President Trump’s Export-Import Bank board nominees.
A cloture is a procedure whereby the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter to overcome a filibuster. However, to pass requires about 60 senators to approve, or about two-thirds of the chamber’s members.
Industry associations have grown increasingly frustrated by the years-long failure to return the Export-Import Bank to its full loan-making authority.
Since 2015, the bank has been ensnared in a political debate whether to continue its operations, with opponents referring to the financial institution’s loans to large American companies, such as Boeing and GE, as “corporate welfare” and “crony capitalism,” while proponents say it helps U.S. companies of all sizes to receive sufficient financing to compete for export deals to developing countries against foreign competitors. Many overseas companies, including in China and across Europe, have access to financing from similar government-owned banks.
Other large trade groups that have voiced support for the Ex-Im Bank in recent years include the Aerospace Industries Association, American Chemistry Council, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Foreign Trade Council and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Currently, Jeffrey D. Gerrish serves as acting bank president. Ex-Im Bank rules require three of the five board seats to be filled to approve financing in amounts larger than $10 million.
The three pending Ex-Im Bank board nominees are Kimberly Reed, Judith DelZoppo Pryor and Spencer Bachus. Last August, the Senate Banking Committee voted to advance Reed’s nomination as Ex-Im Bank president, but her confirmation has not yet received the full Senate’s approval. Reed previously served as president of the International Food Information Council Foundation.
President Trump submitted the three Ex-Im Bank board nominations to the Senate in 2017.