The Senate voted overwhelmingly late Monday to attach language to a multi-year highway funding bill that would revive the Export-Import Bank, but the bank's future remains murky at best because of opposition in the House.
The 64-29 vote officially added language to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank to the highway funding bill. The Senate is expected to pass the highway bill later this week and send it to the House.
But while the majority of senators have agreed to throw a lifeline to the bank, it's going nowhere in the House, at least for now.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Monday that the lower chamber will not take up the Senate highway measure at all before the House adjourns this week.
When the House leaves, it will not return until early September, which means the bank will be left hanging until at least then, if not for much longer. The failure to reauthorize the bank by June 30 means the agency can only service existing loans and loan guarantees, but can't create new ones aimed at aiding U.S. exports.
House Republican lawmakers are mostly opposed to reviving the bank, which critics say is a form of corporate welfare that has outlived its usefulness.
"We are not taking up the Senate bill," McCarthy said.
McCarthy wants the Senate to pass the House measure, which extends highway funding for five months and does not include language to revive the Export-Import bank.
Highway funding authorization expires at the end of this week, which means the Senate may be forced to take up the House bill. Or, Senate lawmakers may pass their own short-term measure, but McCarthy signaled the House won't stick around to endorse that measure, either.
"They already have a five-month bill over in the Senate," McCarthy said. "Why would you want to generate something new?"