The Senate on Saturday voted for a comprehensive climate and economy bill with the support of all 50 Democrats, bringing long-stalled items on President Joe Biden’s agenda closer to reality.
The procedural vote on the anti-disruption package was 51-50, With all the Republicans who opposed the motion to start the debate, Vice President Kamala Harris cast her spoiled vote. If this support continues, it is sufficient to pass the bill through the Senate and send it to the House of Representatives in the coming days.
The legislation, called the Curb Inflation Act, includes significant spending to combat climate change and expand health care coverage, while providing savings in prescription drugs and corporate taxes. It puts hundreds of billions of dollars into deficit reduction.
“This is one of the most comprehensive and influential bills Congress has seen in decades,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, told the hearing before the vote.
Procedural voting, during a rare weekend session, begins with several hours of debate, followed by a “rama vote” – a process by which senators can introduce nearly unlimited amendments that would require a simple majority of votes for adoption.
Legislation is not subject to stalling—it is pursued through a special process called reconciliation, which allows Democrats to pass it themselves. But the process has limits; Policies included in the bill must be related to spending and taxation and the legislation must comply with a strict set of budget rules. It’s the same process Democrats used to pass the US bailout in 2021, and Republicans used to pass Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.
Ahead of Saturday’s vote, the senator decided key provisions for Democrats on clean energy and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices inevitably passed and could be included in the inflation package, Democratic leaders said.
“While there has been an unfortunate judgment that the inflation discount is more limited in scope,” Schumer said, “the overall program remains intact as we finally get one step closer to engaging with Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.” “
The Democrats-only package, which includes several parts of Biden’s agenda to rebuild better, was long believed to have died after Senator Joe Manchin, of DW.Va, rejected a larger bill in December. He struck a deal last week with Schumer, pleasantly surprised many of his fellow Democrats, and has since been on a media campaign to sell it.
“It’s a red, white, and blue bill,” Manchin said recently on MSNBC, calling it “one of the greatest pieces of legislation” and “the bill we need to fight inflation, to get more energy.”
On Thursday, Democratic Senator Kirsten Senema, after a week of silence, signed the bill after securing some changes to it.
Sinema forced Democrats to repeal a provision that would have limited the carry-over tax credit, which would enable hedge fund managers and investment managers to pay a lower tax rate.
“We had no other choice,” Schumer told reporters.
Instead, it was replaced by a new 1% selective tax on share buybacks that is expected to bring in $74 billion — five times the transfer interest provision, Schumer said. Sinema also secured $4 billion in funding for drought prevention in Arizona and other western states.
Before its change, the Congressional Budget Office is nonpartisan have found The bill would reduce the deficit by about $100 billion over a decade, with an additional potential to generate $200 billion in revenue as a result of strengthening IRS resources for enforcement.
Senate Minority Whip, John Thune, RS.D, promised “hard votes for Democrats” in the Rama voting process.
The question is, in the end, will those amendments be amendments that might alter the bill? can make it better. It might make it more difficult to pass around the house, who knows? ‘ Thon said on Friday.
Some Democrats worry that Republicans will propose amendments to the pill on controversial issues like immigration and crime that could win a majority vote in the Senate — picking out some moderate and weak senators who face reelection this fall — but are alienating Democrats Others are hindering a fragile deal.
Senator Bob Menendez, DNJ, said this week on MSNBC.
On Saturday, a handful of Senate Democrats took to Twitter and urged their colleagues to stick with the line and vote against amendments that could jeopardize the package.
“I will vote No on all amendments, even those I agree with,” chirp Senator Tina Smith, D-Maine. “This bill is making historic progress on climate action and lowering prescription drug costs. It got 50 votes, and we have to stick together to preserve this situation.”
Senator Cory Booker, DNJ, agreed with this strategy. “A number of us have already tweeted that we will vote no on the amendments we like and don’t like,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“There is such a moral urgency… to have a bill that crosses the line that will deal with the existential threat of climate change. I think that’s a catalyst and I see more unity than usual.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republic of South Sudan, said on Friday that the amendment process would be unpleasant. “How will the rama vote? It will be like hell,” he said.