Progressive senators said they would vote against any amendments to the climate and health care law proposed by Democrats before a long series of votes before the law passed.
The remarks come before the Senate votes on a proposal to move forward with the so-called Inflation Cut Act of 2022. Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a process called budget compromise, which would allow them to pass it by a simple majority and avoid a Republican blocker.
As part of the budget compromise, the Senate will conduct a “rama vote,” in which senators vote successive amendments at a rapid pace usually no longer than ten minutes per amendment.
On Saturday morning, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, one of the most vocal advocates of fighting climate change, said he would oppose any amendments, including the ones he supports.
“We have a lot to do to meet our climate and equality commitments, but after a year-long battle, we have a 50-vote deal that’s making historic investments,” he said. “This weekend, I will vote accordingly to protect that deal, which means voting against the amendments, even the amendments I support.”
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii echoed the sentiment in another tweet.
“We have a deal to take the biggest climate action in the history of the United States. Every Democrat in the Senate agreed. I can think of many ways to strengthen it, but I won’t derail this bill by supporting changes. I’m going to vote ‘no’ on all the amendments—” Even for the things I love. Let’s finish the job.”
Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, one of the most effective negotiators on the climate aspects of the legislation, echoed the sentiment, saying she would oppose the amendments she supports.
“This bill is making historic progress on climate action and lowering prescription drug costs. It has 50 votes, and we have to stay together to maintain this situation,” she said.
Senator Alex Padilla of California agreed with his peers, “Let’s stay united and get this historic act done.”
Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders gave a speech in the Senate calling for the legislation to be amended.
“Now is the time for every senator to study this law thoroughly and come up with amendments and suggestions on how to improve it,” he said. However, the united front of Democrats shows that the Independent from Vermont may be isolated.
The united front comes as Senator Elizabeth McDonough has issued guidance on various parts of the Inflation Reduction Act. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Saturday that Ms McDonough had authorized Medicare’s supply to negotiate drug prices.
“Democrats have received very good news: For the first time, Medicare will be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices, seniors will get free and cost-limited vaccines, and much more,” he said in a statement. This is a great victory for the American people. While there has been an unfortunate judgment that the inflation discount is more limited in scope, the overall program remains intact as we finally come one step closer to confronting Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”
In addition, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Tom Carper of Delaware said Ms. McDonough said the climate equality provisions in the legislation had been passed by Parliament.
“I am particularly pleased with the approval of our methane emissions reduction program, environmental sanitation block grants, and climate bank allocations,” he said in a statement.