Senate Republicans are set to force Democrats to solid votes on a wide range of probably uncomfortable subjects within the coming days, profiting from the principles of the price range reconciliation course of Democrats are utilizing to advance President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plan whereas getting round a filibuster.
Debate on the price range decision, which began Wednesday, will proceed within the Senate on Thursday. After that time expires — Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. predicted that will occur shortly after lunch — a course of referred to as a vote-a-rama begins.
During that time, any senator is entitled to file an modification to the decision, which may lead to dozens of votes on varied provisions going late into the evening and even early into Friday morning.
Republicans strongly oppose the actual fact that Democrats are utilizing reconciliation to advance the coronavirus stimulus and due to this fact plan to use the vote-a-rama as a method to punish Democrats, extracting a pound of flesh by forcing them into uncomfortable votes.
“The new President talks a lot about unity, but his White House staff and congressional leadership are working from the opposite playbook,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., mentioned of the price range reconciliation course of. “We’ll be discussing the facts… Senate Republicans will be ready and waiting with a host of amendments to improve the rushed procedural step that’s being jammed through.”
He added: “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. And this is just a small taste.”
In truth, simply minutes after McConnell’s flooring speech, Sen. Josh Hawley. R-Mo., launched an modification that would oppose federal funding from schools that do not get youngsters again in lecture rooms.
“In spite of overwhelming evidence that schools can reopen safely, partisan advocates are using children’s education as a cudgel to push their radical agendas,” Hawley mentioned in an announcement together with the modification. “The effect on children and working-class families has been absolutely devastating. The federal government should put an end to this two-tiered education system for the haves and the have-nots by incentivizing schools to safely reopen.”
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., in the meantime introduced that he’s main seven amendments for the reconciliation course of and co-sponsoring three.
Among them are amendments that advocate reversing the president’s resolution to cancel the Keystone XL oil pipeline; resuming oil and fuel leasing on federal lands; stopping any tax will increase whereas the pandemic continues to be going on; stopping the U.S. authorities from utilizing taxpayer cash to implement the Paris Climate Agreement; and extra.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in the meantime, mentioned in a launch that he’ll introduce amendments to help funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons program; oppose taxpayer funding from getting used for abortion internationally and at home nonprofits; oppose illegal immigrants from utilizing U.S.-government supported well being care choices; and help preserving the variety of Supreme Court justices at 9.
“Republicans are happy to work with Democrats to bring COVID-19 relief to the American people, but we cannot and will not support a bill that redirects funds to long-standing Democratic priorities,” Cotton mentioned. “My amendments are designed to ensure the American people – not the Senate Democrats’ far-left policies – are protected.”
Not the entire amendments that are launched will get a full flooring vote through the vote-a-rama. And some could also be dropped as towards what’s referred to as the Byrd rule — a rule that says something handed throughout price range reconciliation should have to do with the federal price range ultimately.
But the wide-range of amendments Republican senators mentioned they might introduce on Wednesday signifies that they plan to make the price range reconciliation course of as painful as attainable for Democrats. Republicans have decried the transfer to invoke reconciliation as a partisan gambit to keep away from working with them on coronavirus aid.
Likely to be one of many hottest subjects through the debate over reconciliation is reopening schools, which Republicans seem to have determined is a successful concern for them. Not solely did McConnell dedicate the majority of his speech Wednesday to criticizing Democrats and labor unions over the gradual reopening of schools, however Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, gave a speech on the difficulty as properly.
The White House reemphasized to Fox News on Tuesday that it’s dedicated to fulfilling its promise to get youngsters into lecture rooms in Biden’s first 100 days, regardless of union strain slowing its effort within the first couple of weeks.
Democrats in the meantime have accused Republicans of holding out on cash that may go to schools to assist them open in particular person, in addition to cash for native governments and different sectors of the financial system they are saying is badly wanted.
“A safe learning environment means also personal protective equipment,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., mentioned. “Barriers such as we’re seeing in restaurants and other public places — plexiglass and other kinds of dividers. And these kinds of essential equipment are the reason that we’re advocating $130 billion for our schools.”
Republicans say that loads of federal cash has already gone to serving to schools reopening and that this simply constitutes “moving the goalposts.” But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., mentioned within the Senate on Wednesday that extra wants to be executed.
“The $1.9 trillion budget resolution is designed to meet the needs of a country that has been devastated by disease and recession for nearly a year,” he mentioned. “Secretary Yellen told the Democratic caucus yesterday that it is her belief that if Congress fails to dedicate the necessary resources to meet the needs of the American people and survive this crisis, we will see long-term scarring in our economy, and our country would be mired in the COVID crisis for years.”
Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.