The Senate is in the process of passing its budget resolution to move forward with writing and passing a COVID-19 relief bill. In order to move forward, the senate must go through a vote-a-rama.
“It’s generally a free-for-all once you get into vote-a-rama,” John Thune, Minority Whip, said. “It just depends on the appetite for members to do this.”
“I think the Democrats chose this path, and obviously, it’s not going to be an easy path,” Thune said. “When you go this route, you’re asking basically the other side to sort of lay down and say we’re going to run over you. And I think our members are ready to force some votes on some pretty tough amendments.”
A final vote cannot be given on the budget resolution until all the amendments have been voted on. The process is tedious and could take all night.
“We need to remember what this is about. This is not about a goofy 10-hour or 12-hour or 15-hour process where we stack amendments and try to set each other up, that we’ll somehow trick someone into taking a bad position that can be turned into a campaign advertisement,” Brian Schatz, a Senator from Hawaii said on the Senate floor. “It is nonsense and everybody should ignore it if they can. Do anything not to watch vote-a-rama.”
Republicans have made hundreds of amendments, including preserving former President Donald Trump’s border wall, reversing President Joe Biden’s plan to get rid of the Keystone XL pipeline, and prohibiting “sex-selective abortion.”
“The biggest challenge that the Democrats have is staying united. They can’t help themselves,” Representative Jason Smith said.
Democrats are looking to increase the federal minimum wage and taxes for corporations and the highest-earning Americans.
“That’s gonna be their problem,” Smith said. “Get a bag of popcorn because it can be interesting watching the Democrats fight within themselves.”
The voting process is important and a senator’s track record can be used against them in the future for campaign attacks. Democrats only have 51 votes in the Senate and will have to be strategic about how they vote. Many Senators are likely to be indecisive as they vote on the amendments.
“We’ll be getting senators on the record about whether taxpayers should fund checks for illegal immigrants, whether Democrats should raise taxes on small businesses in the midst of this historic crisis and whether generous federal funding should pour into school districts where the unions refuse to let schools open,” Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader said on the floor.
Democrats will need Republican votes in the Senate to avoid cuts to certain programs.
Vice President Kamala Harris is on Capitol Hill this evening to cast a potential tie-breaking vote.