White House resubmits NOAA, Ex-Im Bank nominations

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WASHINGTON — The White House has once again nominated Barry Myers to be administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as four people to serve on the board of the Export-Import Bank.

The White House included those nominations in a lengthy list released Jan. 16 for various government positions. Nominations submitted in the prior Congress but not taken up by the full Senate expired and had to be resubmitted for consideration by the new Congress that started Jan. 3.

Myers, until recently the chief executive of commercial weather forecaster AccuWeather, was originally nominated to lead NOAA in October 2017. The Senate Commerce Committee favorably reported the nomination in December 2017, and again in January 2018 when the nomination has to be resubmitted to comply with a Senate rule. However, the full Senate did not take up the nomination.

Myers faced opposition from Democratic members of the Senate because of concerns he had conflicts of interest because of his role at AccuWeather, which is owned by family members. Myers, at his November 2017 confirmation hearing, vowed there would be a “complete separation” between the company and NOAA.

AccuWeather announced Jan. 4 that Myers had stepped down from his positions at AccuWeather and sold his stake in the company, effective Jan. 1. His wife, who had spent 35 years at the company, also left AccuWeather at the same time.

“In accordance with the ethics pledge from Myers to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and in his testimony and comments made to the U.S. Senate, he has fulfilled his commitment to fully divest himself of AccuWeather and of any and all related interests,” the company said.

The administration also resubmitted the nomination of Kimberly Reed to be president of the Ex-Im Bank and for Spencer Bachus III, Judith DelZoppo Pryor and Claudia Slacik to serve on its board of directors. All had been previously nominated by the administration, and the Senate Banking Committee had favorably reported them, but the full Senate did not take up their nominations.

The bank, which provides export credit financing for American companies, currently lacks a quorum on its board. That prevents the bank from approving any deals larger than $10 million, which effectively excludes it from supporting any commercial satellite or launch deals, work that the bank had supported when it was fully functioning.

The Aerospace Industries Association had previously supported those nominations in a bid to restore a quorum to the board. “The Ex-Im Bank is incredibly important to our industry’s competitiveness in the global market,” Eric Fanning, president and chief executive of the association, said in a statement last summer. “We need the Bank to offset our foreign competitors’ advantage so our industry can grow manufacturing jobs in the United States.”