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 HatchInternet companies dominate tech lobbying Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners Overnight Tech: GOP says internet fight isn't over | EU chief defends Apple tax ruling | Feds roll out self-driving car guidelines | Netflix's China worries MORE (R-Utah) told reporters earlier, asked about the Senate legislation's chances in the lower chamber.
Meanwhile, Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeShutdown risk grows over Flint Dem slams House waterways bill over splash parks provision Democrats blast GOP for ‘sabotaging’ House waterways bill MORE (R-Okla.) appeared to dismiss McCarthy's comments on Monday evening, suggesting they were made "off the cuff."
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Trail 2016: Fight night Google backs Obama's internet transition plan Steve King asks: Will Clinton be ‘on her meds or off her meds’ for debate? 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 GrahamShutdown risk grows over Flint Senate poised to override Obama veto Overnight Defense: Debate night is here | Senate sets vote on 9/11 veto override | Kerry, McCain spar over Syria MORE (R-S.C.) was the bank's lone supporter from the party's four presidential candidates, while Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioGlenn Beck: I was wrong about Ted Cruz Senate rivals gear up for debates Rubio: End of Obama's term could be 'most damaging yet' MORE (R-Fla.) didn't vote.