The Senate Banking Committee voted 10-13 on Tuesday to reject President Trump's nominee for head of the Export-Import Bank. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined the block of Democrats in opposition, The Hill reports. The Trump administration's nominee, former New Jersey congressman Scott Garrett, has twice voted to abolish the Ex-Im Bank, claiming it "embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system."
Trump has long been an opponent of the Ex-Im Bank himself, describing it as the "bank of Boeing" while campaigning, NBC News reports. The bank serves to loan money to U.S. companies that export goods and services overseas and is seemingly antithetical to Trump's "America First" policies. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) also opposes the bank, calling it "corporate welfare." On the other hand, the Ex-Im Bank is essential to Boeing and "if the bank scales back or stops operating, Boeing's largest competitor, European-owned Airbus, will benefit," NBC News writes. General Electric is another major company that has received funds through the bank.
It has been rare for the Republican-majority committees to outright reject the Trump administration's nominees, although the White House has faced a number of defeats in recent weeks, including the withdrawal of several judicial nominees. Scott's Tuesday vote in the Senate Banking Committee was his first vote ever against a Trump nominee. "At the end of the day, I have to make my own decision based on what I think is best for the country and for business and frankly, I'm not any more convinced than I was before that Mr. Garrett is right for the opportunity," Scott told McClatchy on Monday.
Although critics feared Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) might push Garrett through even without the Banking Committee's blessing, MSNBC's Kyle Griffin reports that his nomination "will not advance to the full Senate."