Our old friend Scott Garrett has resurfaced in the news again, as Bill notes in this AM’s Roundup. His confirmation hearing is today, and since he lost his congressional seat to Josh Gottheimer (and his role as Sussex County’s chief winger jerk seems now to be occupied by Parker Space), our boy needs a job. Preferably a big Washington job with a matching paycheck, and bestowed for years of service to crackpot anti-government government service, from a crackpot who doesn’t seem to respect the government he now leads.
I had to flag this for you, because honestly, I don’t know when I’ve ever read a more puling statement, as the position Garrett is taking today. Let me set this up for you. Garrett was nominated by Trump to run the Export-Import Bank. But this is Garrett, right? So the first thing he does is screw it up, letting his knee-jerk anti-gubmint attitude speak before his brain fired up. In fairness, as much fairness as I’m prepared to grant Mister Garrett, he’s a bone-deep conservative and the very existance of the agency he was (almost) given the keys to, has stuck in conservative craws for years, and in fact Garrett took up against it when he had a House seat to oppose it from. Business groups, including bigly corporate people who Trump needs, pushed back hard when Garrett criticized the agency he was picked to run, saying they can’t trust somebody to protect an agency he obviously doesn’t give a fig about. All of NJ’s House Dems oppose his nomination. And both Booker and Menendez (if he’s present to vote) will be voting on his nomination.
But like I said, he needs a job. And a funny thing happens when to Garrett now that his own paycheck depends on whether the EXIM Bank exists. Now he thinks is does need to exist. And he’s just the man to run it. Have you ever read anything more puling than this statement? Garrett, from his prepared remarks:
“Let me be crystal clear on this point: If I am confirmed, the Export-Import bank will continue to fully operate, point blank. It will continue to approve the many loans that support our American manufacturers’ ability to export their products.”
In other words, Pay no attention to my entire history, because now that you’re going to pay me to run what I used to say shouldn’t even exist ...Garrett’s in for a rough day. And the 4 other nominees also in the hot seat don’t really want to sit near him, lest his trouble rub off. Everything is coming up today. His hypocrisy about EXIM, the nature of his very recent dedication to all things EXIM, and even the homophobia which led to his bounce out of Congress last year. But after Trump gave Garrett a chance to rescue his nom, he’s been doing everything he can to shore up support, even talking to Democrats. Now, he says he wants to reform the agency (though he hasn’t said publicly how), and he’s been talking to members of the Senate Banking Committee (Menendez is on that committee, but given the trial, I don’t know how involved he’s been). And his GOP support in Banking isn’t solid. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) was one of the committee’s Dems who met with Garrett in August and later issued a joint statement calling the discussion “bizarre,” that he wouldn’t commit to the bank’s mission or even to renewing its charter in 2019. Heitkamp:
“He could blow our socks off,” she said. “But, based on the last performance, that’s probably unlikely.”