Nowhere to Hide in Senate Vote-a-Rama
Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, the Democrats’ chief deputy whip, said Wednesday that she believes party leaders would try to pair tough Republican amendments with Democratic alternatives. “We’ll have side-by-sides. They would be related to the topic,” she said.
Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said the GOP had a “collective list of priority amendments.” The options include a mandate for the budget to be balanced in a 10-year window and a proposal to strike a Democratic provision for $975 billion in tax increases on wealthy taxpayers and corporations to help reduce the deficit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the White House have worked in tandem to shield vulnerable Senate Democrats from tough votes that could provide opponents with campaign fodder. But regardless of those concerns, the Senate this week will finish its first budget debate in four years.
Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., kicked off formal floor proceedings 5 p.m. Wednesday. Thursday is likely to be a long day of speechmaking, with rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties eager to talk.
While each party is guaranteed 25 hours of debate on the budget resolution under the rules, the main event — a continuous sequence on nonbinding votes known as a vote-a-rama — is expected to begin Friday.