All four U.S. Senators from Illinois and Missouri voted in favor of re-authorizing a federal bank that helps U.S. companies compete globally. Their vote came during a rare Sunday session and would attach the bank language to the Senate’s six-year Highway bill. St. Louis Public Radio’s Jim Howard Reports.
Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk sponsored the amendment to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank, as part of the Highway bill. The Bank’s charter expired in June. Tea Party Republicans oppose the bank, calling it corporate welfare. Democrats and mainstream Republicans say the bank helps U.S. companies. The Senate Highway proposal authorizes spending for six-years, but only guarantees funding for three.
Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt says while he would like to see guaranteed funding for the entire plan, the measure is better than another short-term fix.
“Every time you have one of these short-term extensions, you needlessly spend money on roads and bridges that you could have spent more wisely if you’d had more time.”
Congress must approve some extension of the Highway Trust Fund by the end of the week or federal highway dollars to the states will stop.