Senate

Bid launched to bring Ex-Im bill to Senate floor

The Senate on Monday started the fast-track process on a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, after its charter expired earlier this year.  

The process, known as Rule 14, will allow the legislation from Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to skip over the committee process and go directly to the Senate floor where it could be scheduled for a vote. The fast-track process will likely be completed on Tuesday.
 
However, the process wouldn’t ensure a vote on the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has given no indication he’d move a stand-alone bill reauthorizing the bank, which he doesn’t support.
 
“The Senate is not going to spend a week on a bill that the leader doesn’t support,” Don Stewart, a spokesperson for McConnell, told The Hill.
 
{mosads}Senate Democrats noted that the legislation is a duplicate of a bill Kirk introduced earlier this year which would reauthorize the bank through September 2019. The original legislation was referred to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. 
 
The procedural maneuvers in the Senate come after a group of House Republicans joined with Democrats to file a discharge petition to force a vote on reauthorizing the bank, which could happen this month. 
 
Kirk in a statement earlier this month praised his House counterparts, adding that “the Senate has already passed the Kirk-Heitkamp Ex-Im bill with 64 votes and I am confident that given the chance, it will do so again.”
 
The Illinois Republican was referring to the Senate’s 64-29 vote on attaching reauthorization of the bank to a long-term highway bill. That legislation, however, wasn’t taken up by the House and is still in a conference committee. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is a co-sponsor of the bill.
 
McConnell faced pushback from conservative lawmakers for allowing the reauthorization to come up for a vote. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is running for president, suggested from the Senate floor that the Republican leader lied about making a deal with Democrats on allowing for an Ex-Im vote in exchange for support on a fast-track trade bill.
 
This story was updated at 9:48 a.m.
 
 
Tags Heidi Heitkamp Mark Kirk Mitch McConnell Ted Cruz
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