Manchin to move forward with Senate Export-Import bill

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinTrump questions hound endangered Republican Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions Convicted ex-coal boss says he’s a ‘political prisoner’ MORE (D-W.V.) said Monday he will likely unveil a bipartisan legislative proposal with Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Iran sending ships to Yemeni coast after US ship fires at Houthi sites MORE (R-Ill.) to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank as soon as this week.

“We’d like to release it this week,” Manchin told The Hill. “This needs to be sorted out before we get out of here. I would assume we would, because I know we tried for last week, too.”

Ex-Im expires September 30 unless Congress reauthorizes the bank, which provides financial loan guarantees to businesses looking to invest internationally. Its tea party critics argue that it is corporate welfare, while supporters say that it helps U.S. businesses enter into international markets while supporting domestic jobs.

A once no-drama reauthorization process has now become a full-fledged political war within the Republican Party. Neither the House nor the Senate has released a bill. And while Manchin-Kirk would likely pass the Senate, no one in the House has unveiled a bill.

Even if a House member did unveil a bill, it’s unclear whether House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) would take it up. Hensarling vehemently opposes Ex-Im's reauthorization. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has also signaled that he does not support its reauthorization.

“I support it 100 percent,” Manchin said in an interview.

When Ex-Im was reauthorized in 2012, it passed on a 330-93 vote. All of those opposing were Republicans, though 147 Republicans at the time voted to reauthorize.

The 2012 bill that did pass had attached with it reforms, including requiring Ex-Im officials to seek public comment on arrangements in excess of $100 million; as well as to quarterly disclose its financial arrangements. 

Manchin said that new reforms were part of his proposal with Kirk, but he was tight-lipped when asked for specifics.

“There were some changes that we did make in there and that's why we haven't dropped the bill yet,” Manchin said. “But some people on the other side who philosophically think that the private sector can do this job, and I don't think so. Here's the other thing -- it makes money. It doesn't cost the taxpayers anything.”

Manchin added: “We're negotiating right now. We're trying to get more sponsors.”