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‘One hell of a fight,’ all night: Senate vote-a-rama jumpstarts $3.5T plan

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Senate Democrats kicked off the marathon known as "vote-a-rama" on Tuesday to deliver their next filibuster-proof ticket to passing major legislation against the will of their GOP colleagues.

Republican senators began firing off a volley of hot-button amendments Tuesday afternoon, in their last legislative hurrah before senators depart for the August recess that was already supposed to be underway. The GOP plans to drag the voting session well into the night, peppering the majority party with dozens of symbolic amendments on issues like school reopening, hydraulic fracturing and policies for handling immigrants who are sick with coronavirus.

The vote-a-rama will culminate with a final roll call — likely late Tuesday or in the wee hours of Wednesday — on adoption of a 92-page framework for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion package of climate and social initiatives, including subsidized child care, expanded Medicare and paid family and medical leave benefits. Adoption of the budget measure will unlock the reconciliation process, which empowers the majority party to eventually clear the final bill with just 51 votes in the Senate, rather than the usual 60-vote hurdle.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking on the floor for the first time since his breakthrough Covid infection, promised an unpleasant evening for Democrats as political punishment for proposing a budget measure he called “a dream for those who want to socialize America.”

“Yes, sir. We're going to have one hell of a fight,” said Graham, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “I don't know how long we're going to be here, but as long as it takes. America is worth fighting for, and America as we know it is at risk in this budget........

© Politico

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