Reid furious as GOP blocks quick Senate Export-Import vote

Legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank hit a snag Thursday when Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) blocked an attempt by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to move to a final vote on the bill.

Reid responded by filing for cloture on the legislation, which was approved by the House on Wednesday and was expected to be dispatched quickly by the Senate. Reid’s move sets up a vote on Monday.

Reid asked for unanimous consent to approve the motion to proceed to the bill, but Kyl objected and asked for consent to include five amendments to the legislation. 

Kyl also asked that the Senate require a 60-vote margin for passage for the legislation.

Conservative groups have pushed Republicans to oppose the Export-Import Bank, which they argue disrupts markets through export subsidies. Ninety-three House Republicans voted against the bill in the House.

The visibly frustrated majority leader said that the bill should have passed through both chambers quickly.

“The House did the right thing yesterday. This is the sort of bill the Senate should simply pass without amendment,” Reid said. “I've been here for 30 years, but this is a new one. Even bills that they agree on, they want to mess with them.”

Reid blamed the Tea Party wing of Republican legislators for slowing down the legislation's passage.

“As I indicated, in earlier days the Senate would have passed this by unanimous consent as we've done before — this same legislation — but these days the far-right Tea Party wing of the Senate Republican caucus — I used to just talk about the House wing of the Republican caucus, who think that everything has to be a fight,” Reid continued. “Everything. So we're going to have to have a vote on this rather than unanimous consent.”

The five amendments Kyl wanted to add all related to limiting the bank in some way. One, by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), on behalf of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), puts an expiration date of May 31, 2013 on the bank. Another, by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), prohibits the bank on giving loans to people or entities of another country that has U.S.-issued bills, notes, and bonds. Sen. Bob Corker's (R-Tenn.) amendment limits financing on the bank. Another amendment, by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), stops the bank from making a loan guaranteed by another loan and prohibits financing of energy projects in other countries. Lastly, Sen. Pat Toomey's (R-Pa.) amendment puts limitations on the bank's loans, outstanding guarantees, and insurance.

—This post was updated at 10:32 a.m.