Several Democratic senators are saying they will vote “no” on any amendments introduced during a Senate vote-a-rama session in an effort to keep the party’s major climate, tax and health bill on course to pass.
“We have a deal to take the biggest climate action in U.S. history. Every Senate Dem has agreed to it. I can think of lots of ways to strengthen it, but I won’t derail this bill by supporting changes. I will vote NO on all amendments – even for stuff I like. Let’s finish the job,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted.
“I agree with Brian. I’ll be voting NO on all amendments — regardless of policy,” Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said, quote-tweeting Schatz. “Let’s stay united and get this historic bill done.”
The Senate convened on Saturday around noon as the upper chamber prepares to take up a major piece of legislation for Democrats on climate, health and tax reform.
It comes more than a week after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said they had reached a deal on a package including several Democratic priorities after Manchin had earlier suggested a deal could not be reached because of data showing inflation had risen more than 9 percent annually.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), seen as the other key centrist in addition to Manchin that Democrats needed to win over for the bill, signaled on Friday she would support it after reaching her own deal with Schumer on aspects of the package.
Senate Democrats are using a process known as budget reconciliation that requires only a simple majority to pass the legislation. Democrats need all 50 of their members plus a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Harris to pass it.
But before it can be brought to the floor to be voted on, senators will have to endure a voting session where amendments can be introduced by senators to be added into the bill. The session could last for hours.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said that “it’ll be like hell.”
Other Senate Democrats also said they would be voting against any amendments introduced, even if they agreed with them, in an effort to protect the package.
“We have much more to do to meet our climate and equity commitments, but after a yearlong fight, we have a deal that has 50 votes and makes historic investments. This weekend, I will vote accordingly to protect that deal, which means voting no on amendments, even ones I support,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted.
“I agree with Brian. I’ll vote NO on all amendments, even those I agree with. This bill makes historic progress on climate action and lowering prescription drug costs. It has 50 votes, and we need to stick together to keep it that way,” Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said.