The Senate Banking Committee rejected former Rep. Scott Garrett's nomination to chair the U.S. Export-Import Bank by a 10-13 vote Tuesday morning after two Republicans voted against him, dooming his nomination.
In a blow to President Trump, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., both voted against Garrett, a former congressman from New Jersey who has a history of opposing the government-backed bank, which provides financing to foreign entities so they can buy U.S. goods and services. They joined the committee's 11 Democrats in opposing the nomination.
"I did vote against Mr. Garrett today because I believe he is a principled man who simply believes in the abolishment of the bank, and I think that strong desire on his part to see it abolished as an example of crony capitalism would not have worked in the operation of the bank," Rounds said after the vote.
"While I wish him no ill, I do believe he was not the right person to be the chairman," he added.
“My belief is that we need to both reform the Export-Import Bank and ensure it continues to function as an important tool for American businesses large and small," Scott said in a separate statement. "Given Mr. Garrett’s long history opposing the Ex-Im Bank, I believe it would be hard for him to accomplish both of those goals."
The rejection of Garrett is likely to be welcomed by Boeing, which is the largest benefactor of the Ex-Im Bank.
Scott had not said prior to the vote whether he would support the former congressman or not, but Boeing is likely to have played an outsized role in his "no" vote. The aircraft manufacturer has a plant in South Carolina that employs 6,800 people.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the vote, and said Garrett wasn't the right pick to lead Ex-Im.
"With today's bipartisan rejection of Mr. Garrett, millions of Americans whose jobs and small businesses rely on the bank can breathe a sigh of relief," Schumer said. "The White House should now withdraw Mr. Garrett's nomination and quickly nominate a chair that will actually fulfill the mission of the Ex-Im bank..."
While Garrett's nomination was voted down, the other four individuals nominated to serve on Ex-Im's board, and another to serve as the agency's inspector general, were advanced.