Democrats' Bill Clears Hurdle, Faces Vote-a-Rama 'Hell'

Kamala Harris breaks tie, advances Biden's signature legislation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 7, 2022 5:30 AM CDT
Kamala Harris Breaks Tie, Advances Dems' Signature Bill
Vice President Kamala Harris convenes a gathering of Latina state legislators protecting reproductive rights in their states, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, in Washington, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – A divided Senate voted Saturday to start debating Democrats’ election-year economic bill, boosting the sprawling collection of President Biden’s priorities on climate, energy, health, and taxes past its initial test as it starts moving through Congress, per the AP. In a preview of votes expected on a mountain of amendments, united Democrats pushed the legislation through the evenly divided chamber by 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie and overcoming unanimous Republican opposition. The package, a dwindled version of earlier multitrillion-dollar measures that Democrats failed to advance, has become a partisan battleground over inflation, gasoline prices, and other issues that polls show are driving voters.

Assuming Democrats fight off a nonstop “vote-a-rama” of amendments—many designed by Republicans to derail the measure—they should be able to muscle the measure through the Senate. “What will vote-a-rama be like? It will be like hell,” said GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. The House, where Democrats have a slender majority, could give it final approval next Friday. The vote came after the Senate parliamentarian gave a thumbs-up to most of Democrats’ revised 755-page bill. Among other things, the bill offers spending and tax incentives favored by progressives for buying electric vehicles and making buildings more energy efficient. It includes money to reduce coal plant carbon emissions, as well as language requiring the government to open more federal land and waters to oil drilling.

  • Schumer: “The time is now to move forward with a big, bold package for the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “This historic bill will reduce inflation, lower costs, fight climate change. It's time to move this nation forward.”
  • McConnell: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats “are misreading the American people’s outrage as a mandate for yet another reckless taxing and spending spree.” He said Democrats “have already robbed American families once through inflation and now their solution is to rob American families yet a second time.”
(Read more Senate Democrats stories.)

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