Democrats advance Inflation Reduction Act, establish Senate ‘vote-a-rama’

Senate Democrats passed their first procedural vote on the Inflation Reduction Act on Saturday.

The motion to move forward on the $739 billion climate, tax and health care bill was passed in a 51 to 50 vote. Vice President Kamala Harris casts a tie breaking vote.

Now, Republicans and Democrats have up to 10 hours to debate the spending bill, although it is not yet clear how much each side will use the allotted debate time. After that, they will proceed to consider the amendments in a marathon session called “Vote-e-Rama”.

Senators can offer an unlimited amount of amendments, and Republicans have already promised to bring in a range of issues, such as immigration, borders, energy and crime.

“How’s Vote-a-Rama? It’s going to be like hell,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., told reporters Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., said Saturday that the amendments would not discourage Democrats.

“These efforts will not stop us,” he said during remarks on the Senate floor. “No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to be in session to eliminate this bill.”

“We’re not leaving until the job is done,” he said.

Democrats are fast-tracking legislation through a process known as conciliation, which allows them to pass the bill through a simple majority vote. All 50 members of his caucus need support for the bill to pass, with Vice President Harris acting as a tiebreaker.

Photo: A general view of the US Capitol Dome on July 6, 2022 in Washington, DC.

A general view of the US Capitol Dome on July 6, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via AP, File

San Kirsten Cinema, D-Ariz. The U.S. cleared the way for the Inflation Reduction Act to move forward when it announced its support on Thursday after tax provisions targeting wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives, which they opposed, were dropped from the bill. .

Cinema, which was the last Democratic holdout, said it would sign “subject to MP’s review”.

On Saturday, lawmakers cleared most drug pricing provisions in the bill, except for a provision that aims to penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise the prices of certain drugs faster than inflation for patients with private insurance. .

“Democrats have great news: For the first time ever, Medicare will finally be allowed to negotiate drug prices, seniors will have free vaccines and their costs will be limited, and much more. It’s a huge win for the American people. is,” Schumer said.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the lawmaker also signed off on his committee’s clean energy tax package, which includes a plan for Americans to improve energy efficiency in their homes and consumer credits for those who buy electric vehicles.

President Joe Biden celebrates the movement on the bill, which includes key parts of his agenda. This is a “game changer for working families and our economy”, he said on Friday.

The White House said on Saturday it was “delighted to see the Senate making progress” on the Inflation Reduction Act.

Republicans are expected to be unanimous in their opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act, and have heavily criticized Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.VA, for making a deal with Schumer.

On the floor Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. rejected the bill’s climate provisions and drug pricing plans.

“American families don’t want Democrats to be sure what kind of clothes and clothes dryers they can keep in their homes. They want Democrats to really start policing the streets of our city,” McConnell said.

— ABC News’ Trish Turner and Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

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