Democratic Senators Vote All Night, Killing Amendments

Amendments to the tax, climate, and healthcare measures are being killed off by the Senate Democratic caucus in a marathon, around-the-clock sequence of votes known as the “vote-a-rama.”

This began at 11 p.m. and continued until midday Sunday. There was no recess in the Senate; senators from both parties were mixing on the floor as they weighed one amendment after another.

The GOP’s Intention

The majority of the amendments proposed by the Republican Party are designed to place Democrats in an awkward position regarding contentious matters.

If any of them were to be accepted, it might also make it more difficult for the House to enact the comprehensive package at the end of the week.

At first, the process was thought to take anywhere from 12 to 14 hours. Some hopeful onlookers wondered if it could be done faster if lawmakers worked all night and got tired of each other.

Despite the exhausting effort, senators looked to be in a good mood once dawn broke on Sunday morning. It did not appear the great majority of them were becoming tired at all.

The amendment on crime, brought up by Senator Marco Rubio, was being voted on in the Senate around 6:30 in the morning. It was anticipated voting would continue for several more hours.

The vote-a-rama is a provision of the Senate budget procedure that Democrats are utilizing to pass a large tax, climate, and healthcare measure with 51 votes, avoiding a filibuster by Republicans. 

The budget reconciliation process enables the party that is currently controlling the Senate to pass major legislation with a vote of a simple majority.

However, in exchange for this power, Democrats are required to give Republicans the opportunity to vote on an unlimited number of amendments, one after the other.

Before a vote is held, each camp has only one minute to present its case for or against an amendment.

Not All Amendments

Changes that go against the Byrd Rule, which says legislation passed through the budgetary reconciliation process can’t have an indirect effect on spending, revenues, or the debt ceiling, can be stopped by a procedural challenge.

This needs 60 votes to be overturned.

Not every vote has been on an amendment proposed by the Republicans.

The amendment that will be put to a vote first is one being proposed by Bernie Sanders, who is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

This amendment would mandate that Medicare not pay more for prescription medications than what is funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It lost by a score of 1 to 99.

The Senate’s most recent vote-a-rama lasted for a total of 14 hours and involved the discussion of over 40 amendments.

Taking into account what happened in the past, Democratic senators said they anticipate that this weekend’s vote-a-rama will go until either 11 a.m. or noon on Sunday.

This article appeared in The Record Daily and has been published here with permission.