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The Senate’s first GOP amendments in Saturday night’s vote include provisions on energy, the border and the IRS, as Republicans seek to destroy Democrats’ social spending bill — or at least make it politically painful to pass.
Perhaps the most likely to succeed is an amendment to codify Title 42 immigration policy by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. It could put several Democrats who have said they support the policy in a bind, including Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., who is one of the bill’s main sponsors. Sens. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Jon Tester, D-Mont., and others have also criticized the Biden administration’s efforts to end Title 42.
“We’re going to get it out there. A lot of them have said one thing, but they’ve never been on record. Now is the time to really be aware and say what they really believe on these issues,” Lankford told Fox News Digital on Saturday.
However, Manchin said on Saturday that he will vote against the Republicans’ “phony” amendments, saying they are being offered in bad faith — as Republicans are expected to unanimously oppose the bill.
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Republicans are also pushing for energy-related amendments from Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Lindsey Graham, R.C
Barrasso’s amendment would aim to boost US onshore energy production. Graham’s would remove a tax on imported and domestic oil from Democrats’ bill.
sen. Shelley Moore Captio, DW.Va., also has a change in the first tranche to be introduced. It would cut $45 million from Democrats’ bill aimed at regulating emissions. This follows a Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA, which significantly reduced the agency’s authority to implement climate regulation without Congressional approval.
sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, also has an amendment to prevent the IRS from targeting Americans and small businesses earning less than $400,000 a year for audits.
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These amendments are just the first of many Republicans expected to vote at the marathon vote-a-rama, which could see dozens of amendments in a session that could last the better part of 24 hours. sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also says he will table some amendments to the bill.
The vote-a-rama is a necessary step in the Senate budget reconciliation process that Democrats are using to pass their bill called the “Inflation Reduction Act” without hitting the 60-vote filibuster threshold. Democrats have been trying to pass legislation through reconciliation for more than a year. Previously, they called the legislation “Build Back Better,” and previous versions of it cost more than $3 trillion.
The latest draft of the bill has been scaled back significantly, with more than $700 billion in taxes and more than $400 billion in spending.
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It is unclear if any changes will be made during the vote-a-rama. Many Democrats say they will even vote against amendments they agree with, to avoid complications in passing the bill.
“I believe this is the only deal that is going to get us 50 votes,” D-Mass Senator Ed Markey said. “It’s not the bill I would have written, but it’s still a very good bill. So I want to make sure we can keep 50 votes in the final approval.”
If amendments are passed, the Democratic leadership can introduce a so-called enveloping amendment at the end of the vote, removing it from the bill.