The more than $700 billion party-line legislation remained unscathed after 10 hours of “vote-a-rama,” the amendment marathon that allows any senator to force a vote on proposed changes to the measure . Senate Democrats have banded together to fend off more than 20 attempts to amend the bill, often voting as a bloc even on parts they support.
A clumsy example: Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Michael Benet (D-Colo.) opposed an attempt by the senator. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) To change the wording of the child tax credit and corporation tax in the bill, which they actually support, with Brown saying it would “kill the bill if they approved of it. Sanders was rebellious – even though he lost, 1-97.
“These are excellent amendments. I’m very happy and I think that means all Democrats and Republicans voted against them. It says I’m doing something right,” Sanders said around 8 a.m. Sunday. “I fight for you. I think that should be the message – don’t come up with some convoluted reason why you can’t vote for it.
Sanders predicted a few more hours of amendments and said he would support the bill on its final passage. His vow to support the bill in the end, combined with nearly complete unity among Democrats to reject the amendments, led to legislation passing rules that allow them to avoid a filibuster. The House plans to consider the bill on Friday.
A few other potential threats loomed on Sunday, particularly over the legislation’s insulin price cap. But Republicans are expected to challenge only the insulin price cap on private insurance, which could give Democrats and senators a partial victory. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) as they also seek to limit the spike in Medicare insulin prices. The GOP effort to remove the $35 cap on private insurance will play out on the Senate floor later Sunday.
The vote-a-rama is the latest installment in a long drama that began more than a year ago with a Democratic budget designed to set the stage for a $3.5 trillion social spending program that could avoid a buccaneer. That view dwindled over the course of several months until the bill the Senate still needs to pass later on Sunday — though it’s still far bigger than the health-care-only package Democrats thought they’d get from the bill. senator. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) just two weeks ago.
Democrats ultimately kept the core elements of their proposal, surviving Republican arguments that parts of the bill violated Senate rules that would allow the package to pass under a simple majority vote. Legislation still includes lowering the price of some prescription drugs, allocating more than $300 billion to climate change and clean energy, and imposing a minimum 15% tax on big business. as well as a new 1% excise tax on share buybacks. The bill also increases IRS enforcement and extends Obamacare grants through the 2024 election.
The final bill was carefully negotiated to win the support of the 50-member Senate Democratic caucus. Manchin surprised his colleagues late last month when he struck a deal with Majority Leader chuck schumer on tax and climate provisions under the agreement.
Schumer also made a handful of major changes to appease Sinema, eliminating language that would have tightened a loophole allowing some investors to pay less tax and raised $14 billion in revenue. Instead, the pair agreed to add a 1% excise tax on share buybacks, which is expected to raise $73 billion, while adjusting the minimum corporate tax to appease anxious manufacturers .
And once the entire 50-member Democratic caucus agreed to those demanding adjustments, Democrats had to make sure nothing more changed with the bill.
“I want my colleagues to understand what it’s really about. These motions… are motions to kill this bill, period,” the Senate finance president said. Ron Wyden (Golden.).
During the vote-a-rama, Democrats offered alternative amendments to buy coverage for their own vulnerable members on several GOP proposals. This included a side-by-side debate over Title 42, a polarizing Trump-era policy that placed limits on migration during the pandemic.
Sanders tried to insert provisions that would strengthen prescription drug reforms, expand Medicare and create a Civilian Climate Corps, but he failed to win the support of the vast majority of his colleagues. Only Georgia Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have joined Sanders in his efforts to expand Medicare; Warnock’s own attempt to allow the bill to expand Medicaid to states that blocked Obamacare’s more generous Medicaid language also failed, 5-94.
On Saturday, the party line proposal survived a Senate vetting of Medicare parties to its prescription drug reform plan, while Democrats lost ground on a separate pillar that penalizes drug companies for having increased prices for people with private health insurance. The tax and environmental provisions of the legislation also progressed smoothly.