Senators voted to revive the Export-Import Bank on Monday, setting themselves on a crash course with their House counterparts.
Lawmakers voted 64-29 on attaching a reauthorization of the bank's charter, which expired last month, to a long-term highway bill.
Supporters of Export-Import Bank were widely expected to be successful, after getting 67 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle and end debate on the amendment Sunday.
But the move adds another hurdle to an already uphill path for the six-year bill in the House, where Republican leadership has suggested the proposal is dead on arrival.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said earlier Monday that the House will not be “taking up the Senate bill," suggesting that if lawmakers want to avoid a gap in federal infrastructure funding they have to pass a short-term bill.
But Senate Republicans continued to insist otherwise even in the wake of the California lawmakers strong language.
Kirk said Monday evening that "there is no reason" why the House can't pass the Senate's highway legislation, including the Ex-Im reauthorization.
"This is the bill we want to pass, and when we get it passed we hope the House will see the light," Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchOvernight Defense: Senate to vote on defense picks Friday | 41 detainees left at Gitmo | North Korea may be prepping missile launch Congressional leaders unite to protect consumers Mnuchin weathers stormy confirmation hearing MORE (R-Utah) told reporters earlier, asked about the Senate legislation's chances in the lower chamber.
Meanwhile, Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeSenate teeing up Mattis waiver Lawmakers play nice at Russia hacking hearing Senate chairman meets Trump’s EPA nominee MORE (R-Okla.) appeared to dismiss McCarthy's comments on Monday evening, suggesting they were made "off the cuff."
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (R-Texas) suggested late last week McConnell lied about allowing a vote on the bank as part of a deal to get needed support on a trade bill, a move that earned the firebrand Republican swift blowback from his colleagues.
After the vote, Cruz slammed what he's termed the "McConnell-Reid leadership team" and called on House lawmakers to keep their pledge to block the Senates bill.
“Tonight, the McConnell-Reid leadership team pushed through another win for the Washington Cartel, and they did so at the taxpayers’ expense," the Texas Republican added. “Worse still, the one person who had the ability to make sure the Ex-Im Bank remained expired was the majority leader."Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report Graham: Trump would make mistake in not punishing Russia Graham to vote for Trump’s EPA pick MORE (R-S.C.) was the bank's lone supporter from the party's four presidential candidates, while Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE (R-Fla.) didn't vote.