How will the battle over climate, tax and health bills for Democrats end

Senate Democrats are preparing for a royal battle with Republicans over a 700-page bill that would reform the tax code, tackle climate change, lower drug costs and reduce the deficit in hopes of achieving what will become President Biden’s primary legislative achievement.

While the $1.9 trillion US bailout package that Democrats enacted last year was a bigger bill in terms of dollars spent, the Inflation Reduction Act will deliver on what Democrats have promised for years.

It will require profitable businesses to pay more taxes, reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change, lower the prices of many prescription drugs, and maintain the affordability of health plans to the Medicare Act.

The legislation will move under special budget compromise rules that will allow Democrats to avoid Republican obstruction and pass it by a simple majority. But to abide by the rules of reconciliation, legislation must focus strictly on spending, revenue, or the federal debt limit.

Important policy changes that have only an incidental effect on spending or revenue are violations of the Byrd Rule in the Senate – named after former Senator Robert Byrd (DW.Va.).

Saturday schedule

Senators say there are a lot of unanswered questions heading into the debate, but they have a general idea of ​​how the debate will play out over the weekend.

The Senate will meet on Saturday afternoon and will vote at 12:30 p.m. on a motion to get a candidate to serve as an administrative assistant for the Environmental Protection Agency out of the committee. This will be an attendance vote to make sure all 50 Democratic caucus members are in attendance.

The 82-year-old Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat of VAT), who lost weeks of voting in the Capitol after falling and breaking his hip in June, is expected to return to the field to vote.

Sometime later in the day, the Senate will vote on a motion to advance the inflation-reduction bill, which is expected to split strictly along partisan lines.

Leaders said Friday that they expect each of the 50 Senate Democrats and all 50 Senate Republicans to attend the inaugural vote, meaning Vice President Harris will be on hand to break the 50-50 tie. Harris also voted to break the tie over the proposal to go ahead with the US bailout in March last year.

That would then lead to up to 20 hours of debate on the bill, which could extend into late evening or past midnight last Saturday. 20 hours of discussion will be divided equally between the two parties.

At some point, Schumer will have to finish negotiating some of the bill’s unresolved provisions on Friday afternoon, such as money that Senator Kirsten Senema (D-Arizona) has requested to improve her state’s resilience to drought.

Republican Party strategy

Republican senators said earlier in the week that they intended to use their full 10-hour allocation to speak on the bill, which would likely mean an extension of debate time to Sunday.

But Republican Senator Webb John Thune (SD) said Friday that fellow Republicans are now keen to speed up the debate so they can move more quickly to introduce amendments to the legislation.

“There is likely to be an interest in getting the amendments through fairly quickly,” he said, predicting that voting on the amendments would begin on Saturday afternoon.

However, Thun did not rule out the possibility that Senate Republicans might try to delay consideration of the massive bill by forcing clerks to read its text aloud to the floor for several hours, or by using other procedural delays.

“It hasn’t been determined yet. I don’t think we know the answer for sure because any member can do that.”

Senators are allowed up to 20 hours of debate time, but they can waive some of that.

The senators then begin voting on a series of open amendments, a process known as rama voting.

‘Like Hell’

Senator Lindsey Graham, the ranking member of the Budget Committee, vowed Friday to make the process as painful as possible for Democrats.

“What will the Rama vote like?” Graham declared. “They deserve it.”

He said centrist senators such as Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Cinema “are promoting legislation that will make the average person’s life more difficult at a time when they cannot afford higher gas taxes.

Senate Republican estimates require votes on between 40 and 50 amendments.

Their goal will be to inflict as much political damage as possible on weak Democrats running for re-election in November such as Senators Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), Raphael Warnock (D-Ge), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Neff) and Maggie Hassan (DNH) ).

Senate Republicans say they will force Democrats to make tough decisions on border security, energy prices, crime prevention and inflation.

“Expect to see amendments to all of this stuff,” said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo).

Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) says he plans to introduce an amendment to Health Section 42 that would prevent immigrants from staying in the country while their asylum claims are processed.

Lankford introduced a bill with Cinema, Mansion, Kelly, Hassan, Senator John Tester (Democrat from Mont) and several Republicans in April to delay the end of Title 42 until the Biden administration produced a comprehensive plan to secure the border.

A federal judge prevented the Biden administration from lifting Section 42 in May.

Republicans hope they can pressure weak Democrats to vote with all 50 members of the GOP convention to adopt an amendment to the bill that would make the rest of the legislation unpalatable to the rest of the Democratic senators. But they admit that it is a long-term strategy.

They expect Democratic leaders to introduce amendments side by side to give weak Democratic senators like Kelly and Warnock political cover not to vote for any Republicans.

At the end of the vote, Schumer will introduce an alternate amendment that will make any final changes he wants to add to the Inflation Reduction Act and cancel any amendments that may have been attached during the Rama vote that would jeopardize final Senate passage or endanger the bill’s prospects in the House at risk.

Pressure Mansion Cinema

Republicans are trying to pressure Manchin and Cinema to oppose the final, sweeping amendment so that some of the amendments have a chance to be included in the final bill.

“The question for both Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema is if any of these amendments ultimately work, will or won’t you vote for the sweeping amendment,” Thun said, adding, “I think we kind of expect the Democrats to fall with the wishes of their leaders.

The Rama vote will culminate in a final vote on the legislation, which if successful will send it to the House of Representatives and then Biden’s office.

Schumer admitted Friday that he still doesn’t know exactly what to expect in terms of when senators will adopt the proposal moving forward and when the vote on the amendment will begin or end. But he feels confident he will get the final votes to pass the law in the next few days.

“We feel fine,” he said. “I am pleased that we have reached agreement on an inflation-reduction bill that I believe will have the support of the entire Senate Democratic convention.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: