NJ’s Largest Business Group: Garrett Wrong for Ex-Im Bank

Garrett was formally nominated by President Donald Trump as his pick to lead the bank in June.

Scott Garrett. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The state’s largest business group, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, is calling on former Rep. Scott Garrett to withdraw from consideration as President Trump’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States.

On Monday, the NJBIA — along with the National Association of Manufacturers —  launched a digital ad campaign calling on Garrett to withdraw.

The group represents 20,000 businesses and is the country’s largest state-level business association. Their main criticism of Garrett as a potential chairman of the Ex-Im Bank is that he was a vocal critic of that bank during his time in Congress, claiming from the House floor in 2015 that “it turns the economy into a biased actor that uses your taxpayer dollars to tilt the scales in favor of its friends.”

“We call on Scott Garrett to withdraw his nomination as president and chairman of the Ex-Im Bank,” said Michele Siekerka, the group’s president and chief executive. “The Ex-Im Bank supports 243 New Jersey businesses that support 28,834 jobs in our state, so it is important that its leader be someone who believes in its mission to help level the playing field against foreign competitors.”

NAM President Jay Timmons said Garrett’s leadership “would be a terrible trade deal for American manufacturing workers.”

For his part, Trump is considering dropping Garrett as his nominee, Politico reported last week.

Garrett represented New Jersey’s 5th District until January. He was defeated in November by a Democrat, Josh Gottheimer. A founding member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, Garrett lost support among Republicans in Congress and was not able to hold on to his seat in what is perhaps New Jersey’s most conservative district.

In order for Garrett to become the next chairman of the Ex-Im bank, he must first be vetted by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and then confirmed by the full Senate. Due to Garrett’s controversial stance on the bank, it is likely that the confirmation process will be messy. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was trying to get the administration to come up with a “better nominee,” according to Politico.

NJ’s Largest Business Group: Garrett Wrong for Ex-Im Bank