Mr. Graham had predicted Mr. Trump’s about-face since last year, when as president-elect he intervened to save hundreds of manufacturing jobs at the Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana. The bank said it sends any surplus from the interest and fees it assesses back to the Treasury, resulting in a $5.6 billion profit for taxpayers since fiscal 2007. That appeared to help sway the president.
President Trump’s embrace of the Export-Import Bank is a major blow to conservatives, who had been on the verge of nixing what they — and Mr. Trump, until now — called a sop to wealthy corporations.
During the election campaign, Mr. Trump dismissed the obscure lending agency as “featherbedding” for politicians and huge companies that don’t need it, enthusing opponents who had squeezed its lending powers and said it should die off.
But the president now says he is convinced that the corporate welfare produces jobs — an about-face that irked conservatives who have been fighting for years to end the loan program.
“Unless the Trump administration has reforms that can get Ex-Im out of the business of picking winners and losers with taxpayer dollars, then it will be difficult to see any upside in this,” said Doug Sachtleben, a spokesman for the Club for Growth, a conservative group that urged Congress to let the bank expire.
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