This was a vote on an amendment that would have renewed the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which acts as the official U.S. agency charged with promoting the sale of American goods and services overseas.
The Export-Import Bank works with American companies to facilitate export of their products. For example, if credit risk is a concern that stands in the way of a sale to an overseas customer, the Bank may provide loan guarantees or other assistance to remove barriers to the transaction.
The Export-Import Bank’s charter was just weeks away from expiration when Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) offered this amendment. The amendment would have extended the bank’s life for another four years and increased its lending authority. Supporters of the amendment argued that this was critical to support economic activity in the United States.
Sen. Cantwell’s amendment would have been added to the JOBS Act, a bill aimed at helping small businesses gain access to financial capital. Senate Republicans argued that passing the Export-Import Bank amendment would jeopardize the JOBS Act because of opposition in the U.S. House.
Senate Roll Call 52 was a vote on a motion to end debate and set up an up-or-down vote on Sen. Cantwell’s amendment. Even though 55 senators supported the motion and only 44 opposed it, the motion failed because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 52 Democrats and 3 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 43 Republicans and 1 Democrat. As a result, Sen. Cantwell’s legislation to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States did not receive an up-or-down vote.