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The Senate in a rare Sunday session voted to advance legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, which expired last month.

Over objections from conservatives, the Senate voted 67-26 to end debate on a measure to add language reauthorizing the bank’s charter to federal highway spending legislation. A vote to formally add the language to the highway bill will come later this week.

{mosads}The measure extending the bank’s charter for five years was offered by Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection next year.

The vote split Senate Republicans.

All of the 26 “no” votes came from the GOP, while 24 Republicans voted to move forward with reauthorizing the bank.

No Democrats voted agains the bank. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opposes the bank but missed Sunday’s vote to campaign.

Kirk said in a statement that bank supporters “cleared a major hurdle today.”

“We are one step closer to keeping American jobs here in America and not lost to countries like China,” Kirk said.

 
House conservatives oppose reauthorizing the bank, and House Republicans have also raised objections to the five-year highway spending bill, meaning the legislation faces an uncertain future in the House.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is the loudest opponent of the bank in the Senate. In a Friday floor speech, the presidential candidate accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of lying to him over the issue.

Cruz and fellow presidential candidates Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) voted no on Sunday, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) voted yes. 

 

Tags Bernie Sanders Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Mark Kirk Mitch McConnell Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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