Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Top Dem: GOP is terrified of Trump Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA MORE (R-Ky.) has set up a vote to repeal ObamaCare in a bid to appease conservatives upset over a second planned vote to revive the Export-Import Bank.
McConnell on Friday announced he would file cloture — a motion to end a filibuster — on amendments to fully repeal ObamaCare and to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. Both votes likely will take place Sunday.
The Export-Import Bank is staunchly opposed by conservatives, including presidential candidate Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump to interview four candidates for national security adviser Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at CPAC Reports: Petraeus off the list, Trump down to three candidates to replace Flynn MORE (R-Texas), who shortly after McConnell spoke denounced the decision.
Bringing back the bank is important to vulnerable GOP Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump, judges on collision course GOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal MORE (Ill.), one of the Democrats’ top targets in 2016, whom McConnell wants to help win reelection.
Democrats have insisted that the six-year highway deal McConnell negotiated with liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) include the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization.
McConnell has often said he personally opposes reauthorizing the bank, an agency panned by conservatives as a tool of corporate welfare.
He plans to file cloture to repeal ObamaCare and renew the bank’s charter after offering the highway bill on the Senate floor Friday.
The chamber began voting at 9 a.m. on Friday to begin the highway debate.
Democrats criticized McConnell for using a procedural tactic known as "filling the tree" that prevents other amendments from being offered. When McConnell was in the minority, he frequently complained when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used the tactic.
"Did I just hear the legislative tree being filled?" Reid joked on Friday. "I can answer that question."