Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that a House-passed bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank could stall in the Senate later today, and said a stall would be caused by Republicans who want to terminate the bank.
"There was a time when legislation that would reduce the deficit and support hundreds of thousands of jobs would fly though the Senate with bipartisan support, but not so any more," Reid said on the Senate floor. "Instead, a worthy measure that would support 300,000 American jobs, the Export-Import Bank, may stall in the Senate this evening. The holdup? More Republican obstructionism."
"That's what we have here," Reid said. "Even though there is outward support for this legislation, they want to kill this bill. They don't want government to have anything to do with our lives, period. Nothing. Which is unrealistic in this modern world, and in fact in any world."
Reid also criticized the GOP amendment proposals, and said they are aimed at limiting the bank. Among other things, the GOP bills would eliminate the bank in June 2013, and limit the ability of the bank to make loans. Reid said these are "amendments to kill the bill," and said it makes no sense to consider them given the wide support for reauthorizing the bank.
"Their amendments, generally, would just eliminate the bank," Reid said. "Just gut the Export-Import Bank, and some, just eliminate it all together."
Despite his disappointment in the Republican position, Reid said he is still working with Republicans to find an agreement on how to move forward on the bill. "I don't know if we can reach that, but we're trying," he said.
Reid has scheduled a vote to end debate on a motion to proceed to the bill later Monday. If that vote happens, it would take place after two nomination votes.
Some Republicans are opposed to re-upping the bank, and see it as a form of corporate welfare that gives the government the power to pick winners and losers. But the bill is widely supported, as evidenced by the last week's House vote.
Reid read a letter from the National Association of Manufacturers on the Senate floor on Monday that called on all senators to pass the bill.
"The Export-Import Bank … is one of the only tools manufacturers in the United States have to counter hundreds of billions of dollars of export financing that foreign governments offer to their exporters," Reid read from the letter.