President Donald Trump extended an olive branch to Democrats when he pledged to support the controversial Export-Import Bank last week. But now, his nominees to lead the bank are angering both sides of the aisle.
Trump has named two former Republican congressmen to fill the empty seats on the bank's five-member board. One is a more traditional pick: Spencer Bachus is a moderate from Alabama who served as chairman of the influential House Financial Services committee during the Great Recession. But Trump selected former New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett for the other seat. A founding member of the Freedom Caucus, Garrett has criticized the Ex-Im Bank as a symbol of Washington's "crony capitalism."
"It turns the economy into a biased actor that uses your taxpayer dollars to tilt the scales in favor of its friends," he said in a speech on the House floor in October 2015.
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, one of the bank's most vocal supporters, was measured in her praise of Trump's decision. While she called filling the board a "positive step," she said she still has "reservations" about the nominees. Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) was more direct.
"Once again, President Trump has selected a nominee to lead an agency that