Progressive senators said they will vote against all amendments to Democrats’ proposed climate and health care legislation ahead of a marathon series of votes before the bill passes.
The comments precede the Senate vote on a motion to pass the so-called Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a process called budget reconciliation, which will allow them to pass it by a simple majority and avoid a Republican filibuster.
As part of the budget vote, the Senate will hold a “vote-a-rama,” where senators vote for successive amendments at a rapid pace of usually no more than ten minutes per amendment.
On Saturday morning, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, one of the most vocal advocates for combating climate change, said he would oppose any amendments, including those he supports.
“We have much more to do to meet our climate and equity commitments, but after years of struggle, we have a 50-vote deal and historic investment,” he said. “This weekend I will vote accordingly to protect that deal, meaning I will vote no to amendments, not even amendments that I support.”
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz echoed the sentiment in another tweet.
“We have a deal to take the largest climate action in US history. Every Senate Dem has agreed. I can think of many ways to bolster it, but I won’t derail this bill by supporting change. I vote NO to all amendments – even for things I like. Let’s finish the job.”
Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, one of the most instrumental negotiators on climate aspects of the legislation, echoed the sentiment and said she will oppose amendments she supports.
“This bill makes historic progress on climate action and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. It has 50 votes and we have to stick together to keep it that way,” she said.
Senator Alex Padilla of California agreed with his colleagues, saying, “Let’s stay united and get this historic bill done.”
Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders gave a speech on the Senate floor calling for legislative change.
“Now is the time for every member of the Senate to thoroughly study this bill and come up with amendments and suggestions on how we can improve it,” he said. However, the united front of the Democrats shows that TSTIME from Vermont may be isolated.
The united front comes as Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has advised on various parts of the Inflation Reduction Act. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday that Ms. MacDonough allowed provisions to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
“Democrats have received extremely good news: For the first time, Medicare is finally allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices, seniors get free vaccines and their costs are capped, and much more,” he said in a statement. “This is a great victory for the American people. While there was an unfortunate statement that the inflation discount is more limited, the overall program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally taking on Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.
In addition, Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper of Delaware said Ms. MacDonough said the climate equality provisions in the legislation have been passed by parliament.
“I am especially pleased that our methane reduction program, environmental justice grants and climate bank facilities have been approved,” he said in a statement.