Senate Banking Committee chairman Richard Shelby is blocking confirmation of a nominee to the board of the Export-Import Bank. Without that member, the board lacks authority to back transactions requiring more than $10 million in credit. So even though bipartisan super-majorities voted last year to continue the bank’s operations, it still can’t function. This situation helps explain why millions of GOP voters are casting their ballots for Donald Trump in primaries, despite his mixed record as a conservative. Trump wants to level the playing field in trade for American workers, which is precisely what Ex-Im is chartered to do. Ex-Im costs taxpayers nothing and it doesn’t compete with private lenders, but its financing activities are vital to thousands of U.S. exporters — who must compete against foreign rivals with backing from their own export credit agencies. Senator Shelby’s wrongheaded opposition to an agency that supports over 100,000 U.S. jobs (including in Alabama) is a good illustration of why the GOP establishment is in trouble this election season. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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