An attempt by Democrats to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank was blocked on the Senate floor Thursday. 

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) tried to get unanimous consent to pass a stand-alone bill that would reauthorize the bank’s charter through September 2019 after lawmakers allowed it to expire in June. 
 
{mosads}But she was blocked by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who opposes the Ex-Im Bank. The Republican leader was one of 29 members who voted against reauthorizing the bank as part of a long-term highway bill earlier this year. 
 
“I would remind my colleagues that we’ve voted on the reauthorization of the Expoert-Import Bank already. There are numerous objections on this side of the aisle,” he said, adding that because of those objections he would block Cantwell’s request. 
 
Pressure has been growing for the Senate to move a stand-alone bill after the House voted to reauthorize the bank’s charter by a 313-118 vote, with 127 Republicans voting in favor. The reauthorization passed the House through the use of a discharge petition, a rarely used legislative tactic. 
 
Senate Democrats, including Cantwell, took the Senate floor Wednesday to call on McConnell to move a stand-alone bill. 
 
“I would hope over here the Republican leader would move forward on this now,” Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday. “We should get this done this week.” 
 
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) added on Thursday that supporters need to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank “now.” 
 
“We can’t wait another minute. We can’t wait another day,” she said. “I’m still a little shocked when people say we can’t get that done because we need to introduce a vehicle.” 
 
The House-passed bill was fast-tracked earlier Thursday on behalf of Democratic supporters. The process allows the bill to be placed directly on the Senate calendar, where it could be scheduled for a vote. 
 
McConnell, however, has given no indication that he’s willing to move a stand-alone bill. He stressed his opposition earlier this week, saying that Export-Import Bank legislation would not get floor time in the Senate. 
 
“The way to achieve Ex-Im, if it’s going to be achieved in the Senate, would be in the context of the highway bill,” he told reporters Tuesday.
 
McConnell has repeatedly signaled the best way to move Ex-Im legislation would be to tie it to a larger bill funding highways.  
Tags Harry Reid Heidi Heitkamp Maria Cantwell Mitch McConnell
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