Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt Fight over Biden agenda looms large over Virginia governor's race MORE on Tuesday urged the Senate to pass a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, arguing it would be an acceptable addition to trade legislation because President Obama "loves the bank."
Reid suggested Republicans are only shying away from the bank, which helps provide financing for American exports, because of pressure from conservative groups that are fighting to kill it.
"We've been trying to get this done, but now the Republicans have said no thanks because their guiding light, the Koch Brothers, don't like it because it's a government program," the Nevada Democrat said.
Reid's comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters that he would allow a vote on extending the charter of the Export-Import bank, but that it wouldn't be part of the "fast-track" trade legislation currently being debated by the Senate.
"I think they're entitled to a vote, and we'll be working with supports of the Ex-Im Bank to make sure they have an opportunity to see where the votes are in the Senate," he said.
McConnell has said he is personally opposed to renewing Ex-Im's charter.
Reid slammed McConnell's offer, calling it "meaningless" because the legislation would likely have to start in the House.
"The majority leader doesn't have a path forward," he said. "The best, he said, we'll give you a vote on it. Giving a vote on it is meaningless."
Reid pushed for an amendment from Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenate Democrat calls on Facebook to preserve documents related to whistleblower testimony Biden says he has directed DOJ to focus on violence from unruly airline passengers Looking to the past to secure America's clean energy future MORE (D-Wash.) that would include an extension of the bank in the fast-track legislation, which would allow President Obama to get his trade deals approved by a majority vote in Congress.
"Let's pass a long-term extension of the Export-Import bank. On this bill, the trade bill, if it became part of the trade bill, it would be signed into law," he said.