A group of Senate Democrats plan to defeat all proposed amendments to their ambitious climate, tax and health care bill during Saturday’s marathon session, hoping to preserve the chances of passage of the law Project.
Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.) told The Hill on Saturday that “a large number” of Democrats bought into the strategy of rejecting all amendments in Saturday’s vote-a-rama.
The purpose of the plan, according to Booker, is to prevent any changes that could frustrate the legislation.
“We don’t want to jeopardize the eventual passage of the bill,” the New Jersey Democrat said, adding, “We have to stick together.”
“So we are a large number and a growing number of us who are going to do whatever we can to defend the most historic bill in American history on climate change, the most important bill in my life for prescription drug costs and an incredible bill that is going to help drive up overall energy and health care costs for Americans,” he continued.
The Senate will hold a scoop vote on a series of open-ended amendments before taking a final vote on the 755-page bill. It’s part of the House’s budget reconciliation package that allows the majority party to pass major legislation with just 51 votes, bypassing a filibuster.
Democrats are using this special process to pass their climate, tax and health care package, called the Cut Inflation Act. It contains a number of provisions essential to President Biden’s national agenda.
Senators are allowed to propose as many amendments as they wish during the vote-a-rama.
Republicans see it as a chance to offer last-minute amendments and force their colleagues to take tough votes. They are expected to come up with hundreds of changes, though less than 50 should get votes off the floor.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he plans to propose four amendments, including proposals to expand Medicare and give the government far more power to negotiate lower drug prices on arrangement. He is frustrated that the prescription drug language in the budget bill only covers 20 drugs and does not start to come into force until 2026.
These amendments will put fellow Democrats in a difficult position. This will force them to choose between proposals popular with their base and Schumer’s strategy of keeping intact the compromise he found with the senses. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona). Any changes to the bill could jeopardize final passage, worry Schumer and other Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) is urging no amendments to the bill, according to a Democratic senator who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity.
Booker said he was aware that some colleagues were “trying to talk” to Sanders to warn him that nothing would be gained by forcing votes on his amendments.
“It could create this kind of dem-on-dem violence where not only are we jeopardizing the bill, but we are also putting other members in difficult positions, that if they stay with the team that wants to try to push back any amendments that might put them in a position where they are somehow attacked by people who think they were doing something that wasn’t, something that was going to against that,” he said.
The New Jersey Democrat noted that while he and his colleagues may agree with the proposed measures, they plan to oppose them to protect the bill’s chances of passage.
“There’s going to be a lot of stuff happening tonight that a lot of us will passionately agree on. I heard someone might table a child tax credit bill. Well me , [Sens. Sherrod Brown (R-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.], we’ve been running this for years. And Brown, Bennett and I are going to have to vote against something that we believe in,” he said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has pledged to “evaluate individual amendments,” said he “will likely” be against any revisions — even if he agrees with the substance of the bill. change.
“I am deeply and strongly inclined to preserve this bill as it is because it is so consequential and we must, at the end of the day, maintain unity,” he told The Hill. .
“So while I can sympathize with many of the aims of the amendments and would vote for those measures regardless of this bill, I think this measure is so immensely consequential that it should be preserved,” he said. added.
Asked about Sanders’ amendments, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he plans to vote against any changes to the floor, adding, “I’m trying to keep this bill clean and get him out of here. It’s too important.
Pressed on whether there’s an agreement among Democrats to stay united on the amendments, the No. 2 Senate Democrat said, “Some have ideas that we’re trying to discourage.”
Asked about the conversations between Schumer and Sanders, a Democratic senator told The Hill “I would be surprised if they didn’t happen.”
Alex Bolton contributed.