Senate Kicks Off Vote-a-Rama as It Prepares to Pass Dems' $3.5 Billion Budget Blueprint

Senate Kicks Off Vote-a-Rama as It Prepares to Pass Dems' $3.5 Billion Budget Blueprint

Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA

After passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Senate on Tuesday immediately turned to consideration of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, which would unlock the fast-track process Biden and party leaders want to use to pass the rest of their economic agenda without Republican support.

The Democratic package is expected to include funding for health care, child care, education and social programs that collectively would represent the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades. Democrats are looking to finance those programs by increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.

The Senate process for the budget resolution requires a “vote-a-rama,” or a marathon series of votes on a potentially unlimited number of amendments.

This is the Senate’s third such marathon this year, after the Senate voted on 41 amendments during a February vote-a-rama and 37 amendments during a March session, according to The New York Times.

This time, Republicans have slammed the Democratic budget plan as a “tax and spending extravaganza” and they’ll be looking to make the process painful for Democrats by again forcing dozens of messaging votes on politically sensitive amendments. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday that the GOP has hundreds of amendments prepared. "We're going to argue it out right here on the floor at some length. Every single senator will be going on record over and over and over," he said.

The bottom line: “Only one vote really matters,” writes Emily Cochrane at The New York Times. “If all 50 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents give final approval to the blueprint, Senate committees can begin work this fall on the most significant expansion of the safety net since the 1960s, knowing that legislation cannot be filibustered under the Senate’s complicated budget rules.”