WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did not include his effort to block new coal rules in a bill reauthorizing funds for the United States Export-Import Bank introduced Wednesday night, heading off a fight among Democrats about the future of the country's export credit agency.
The Ex-Im Bank provides loans for projects in other countries that will purchase U.S.-manufactured goods or use U.S. services. The Hill reported late Wednesday that Manchin left out a measure that would stop the bank's new rules that limit the type of coal-fired power plants it can finance abroad. The bank had announced that new policy last December.
Manchin's coal measure was creating problems among Democrats at a time when the party has largely aligned behind reauthorization. Some Republicans, however, have argued against renewing funding. A number of Senate Democrats opposed Manchin's coal measure, and environmental groups said they would oppose reauthorization altogether if it were included.
Manchin instead plans to offer the coal measure as an amendment. "In order to stay competitive abroad and boost our economy at home, our business exporters need certainty that they can receive the financial loan guarantees to invest and sell internationally," Manchin said in a statement. "I also believe that if we are truly committed to protecting our global environment, the U.S. should lead the world in clean coal technology, which is why I am introducing an amendment that helps U.S. businesses export that technology to the rest of the world."
Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) joined Manchin in introducing the bill, which would extend funding for the Ex-Im Bank another five years.
Environmental groups praised the introduction of the reauthorization bill without the coal measure.
"By dropping this dirty provision and putting forth a clean reauthorization bill, Ex-Im will be able to live up to its climate commitment and allow the U.S. and Obama administration to continue to lead in the fight to end climate disruption," said Justin Guay, associate director of the Sierra Club’s International Climate Program.