In its fiscal year 2018 budget, the Trump administration “proposes ceasing new business operations and initiating the wind-down of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation starting in 2018 to reduce unnecessary federal interventions that distort the free market.”
A report this month by Heritage Foundation analysts explains in detail why this is an excellent idea.
And yet in his opening statement at his July 11 Senate confirmation hearing, Ray Washburne—the man President Donald Trump has nominated to be the next (and presumably, last) CEO of the corporation—made little mention of it.
When pressed by senators specifically about whether he would carry out the president’s order to close down the corporation, Washburne said he did not intend to “sit there and look at an organization and wind down,” and that he would not “flip a switch” to shut it down.
He told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that “there was never any specific discussion at all [with the Trump administration] about phasing the agency out.”
Responding to Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., Washburne almost seemed to encourage Congress to reject the administration’s proposal, saying that he wanted to “grow it” and take the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s “mission forward.”
He said he would be “willing to work with the committee and the administration in any way that you dictate us to go.”
Why, exactly, would a nominee fail to support the policy objective of the president who appointed him?