The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an agency that finances exports for American businesses, was renewed for seven years with the help of President Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
Conservative Republicans had tried to kill the agency, but Trump, who campaigned against the bank four years ago, changed his position and backed it to help compete with China, the Journal noted.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who supports the bank, said Trump told him in 2017 that he was dropping his opposition to the agency because of “how important it is for global competition.”
Cramer said he urged Trump to lobby Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to include the bank’s reauthorization in the federal spending package signed into law on Dec. 20.
“The president wanted it,” Shelby said. “A lot of them wanted it. I told him I had trouble with it, but I thought it was a foregone conclusion, and I was interested in bigger things.”
Some Republican critics of the bank have argued it is “corporate welfare” and puts taxpayers’ money at risk to finance sales that should be handled by the private sector, the Journal said.
Conservatives for the past four years have tried to constrain the bank by refusing to approve board members.
But the newspaper said U.S. companies believed supporting the bank was made more urgent as Trump looked to decrease the U.S. trade deficit and was in a trade war with China.
A White House spokesman said the renewal of the bank ensures the economy “continues to grow and we compete globally.”
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