- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2017

President Trump announced his intention to nominate former Rep. Scott Garrett, a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, to head the Export-Import Bank that Mr. Garrett wanted to put out of business only two years ago.

Mr. Trump tapped Mr. Garrett, a seven-term New Jersey Republican who lost his re-election bid last year, late on Friday night. After his loss, Mr. Garrett had visited Trump Tower during the transition to express an interest in working in the administration.

The move could signal that Mr. Trump is reaching out to the Freedom Caucus, whose support he is seeking for stalled legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. The president and congressional Republican leaders view that step as an essential prelude to tax reform and tax cuts later this year.

The president also said he will nominate former Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican, to serve as a member of the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank for a term of four years. Mr. Bachus led the House Financial Services Committee in 2012 when the Export-Import Bank was reauthorized.

During last year’s campaign, Mr. Trump sided with conservative criticism of the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans for U.S. businesses. It has come under fire from anti-establishment Republicans as a form of “crony capitalism.”

But this week Mr. Trump reversed his stance and voiced support for the work of the Export-Import Bank, saying it supports U.S. jobs.

In 2015 Mr. Garrett urged Congress to let the Export-Import Bank expire, calling it a “biased actor” that picked winners and losers in the economy.

“It’s hard to imagine anything more unfair and un-American than having the government financially support mega-corporations at the expense of small businesses and American workers,” Mr. Garrett said at the time. “But that is exactly what has been happening, and it will continue to happen if we don’t let the Export-Import Bank expire.”

He went on to say that the bank “rewards those with close relationships with Washington bureaucrats and makes victims of startups that dare to compete against them.”

In voting to let the bank expire, Mr. Garrett said Congress had “the opportunity to save capitalism from cronyism and to fulfill a promise to the American people to work for them instead of a select few with special connections in Washington.”

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