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On Saturday night’s vote, Senate Republicans’ first amendment included provisions on energy, the border and the Internal Revenue Service, as Republicans seek to kill Democrats’ social spending bill — or at least make it politically difficult to pass.
Perhaps the most likely to succeed is the amendment by Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma to codify Article 42 immigration policy. That could put several Democrats who have expressed support for the policy in limbo, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Va., one of the bill’s lead sponsors. Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and others also criticized the Biden administration’s efforts to end Section 42.
“We’re going to put it out there. A lot of them have said one thing, but they’ve never been on the record. Now is the time to really get on the record and say their actual beliefs about these issues,” Lankford told Fox News on Saturday.
Manchin, however, said Saturday that he would vote against Republicans’ “sham” amendments, which he said were proposed 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 Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and R.S.C.’s Lindsey Graham.
Barrasso’s amendments aim to boost U.S. onshore energy production. Graham would remove taxes on imported and domestic oil from the Democrats’ bill.
DW.Va. Senator Shelley Moore Captio also has an amendment in the first batch introduced. It would deduct $45 million from Democrats’ bills aimed at regulating emissions. This follows a Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. EPA that significantly reduced the agency’s power to enforce climate regulations without congressional consent.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, also has an amendment to prevent the IRS from auditing Americans and small businesses with annual incomes below $400,000.
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The amendments are just the first of many Republicans expected to force a vote during a marathon ballot that could see dozens of amendment votes in a session that could take most of 24 hours. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also said he would make some changes to the bill.
The vote puller is a needed step in the Senate budget settlement process that Democrats are using to pass their bill, known as the “Reduced Inflation Act,” without clearing the 60-vote filibuster threshold. For more than a year, Democrats have been trying to pass the legislation with a conciliatory approach. They had previously called the legislation “build back better,” and earlier versions cost more than $3 trillion.
The latest version of the bill was drastically scaled back, with more than $700 billion in taxes and more than $400 billion in spending.
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It is unclear whether any amendments will pass during the ballot. Many Democrats said they would vote against even an amendment they agreed to to prevent any complications in passing the bill.
“I think that’s the only deal that gets us 50 votes,” said Sen. Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts. “It’s not a bill I would write, but it’s still a very good bill. So I want to make sure we can keep 50 votes when it finally gets passed.”
If any amendments pass, Democratic leadership could introduce so-called sweeping amendments at the close of voting, which would remove them from the bill.