The House voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, uniting across party lines in support of the small agency that finances and insures the foreign purchase of U.S. goods.
A majority of Republicans in the House and all but one Democrat voted in a 313-118 vote to reauthorize the bill, major news outlets reported. According to The Hill, bank supporters used what is known as a discharge petition to push the vote to the floor, avoiding the committee process. It is the first time a discharge petition has been deployed to force legislation since 2002, the site reported.
It remains unclear whether the bill will pass in the Senate, which is likely to take up the legislation before the end of the year, news reports said.
Companies of all sizes—including many in the middle market—have voiced dissatisfaction over the bank’s expiration, complaining of lost sales.
“Pro-bank Republicans and Democrats forced the vote over the wishes of most Republican leaders and influential free-market conservative groups,” said the New York Times, adding: “The pro-bank group had the critical support of Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, who wanted the bill to be resurrected before his resignation takes effect this week, and of powerful business interests, led by bank beneficiaries, like G.E. and Boeing.”
The Ex-Im Bank had been repeatedly approved for decades with little debate, the New York Times said, but the bank’s fate remained uncertain following the administration of President Ronald Reagan, who espoused free-market, small government ideology.