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Democrats advance Cut Inflation Act, implementing Senate ‘vote-a-rama’

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

The motion to proceed with the $739 billion climate, tax and health care bill passed 51 to 50. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote.

Now Republicans and Democrats have up to 10 hours each to debate the spending bill, although it is not yet clear how much allocated debate time each side will use. After that, they’ll move on to consider amendments in a marathon session dubbed the “vote-a-rama.”

Senators can propose any number of amendments, and Republicans have already pledged to propose several on issues such as immigration, the border, energy and crime.

“What will vote-a-rama be like? It’ll be like hell,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., told reporters on Friday.

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

“These efforts will not deter us,” he said during an address to the Senate. “However long it takes, the Senate will remain in session to complete this bill.”

“We won’t leave until the job is done,” he added.

Democrats are fast-tracking the legislation through a process known as reconciliation, which allows them to pass the bill by a simple majority vote. All 50 members of their caucus must support the bill for it to pass, with Vice President Harris serving as the tiebreaker.

A general view of the United States Capitol dome, in Washington, DC on July 6, 2022.

Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via AP, FILE

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, paved the way for passage of the Cut Inflation Act when she announced her support on Thursday after tax provisions targeting wealthy hedge fund managers and executives private equity funds that she opposed have been removed from the bill.

Sinema, who was the last holdout Democrat, said she would sign “subject to parliamentary review”.

On Saturday, the parliamentarian gave the go-ahead to most of the drug pricing provisions of the bill, except for a provision aimed at penalizing pharmaceutical companies that raise the prices of certain prescription drugs faster than inflation for patients with private insurance.

“Democrats have received some very good news: for the first time, Medicare will finally be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices, seniors will have free vaccines and their costs capped, and much more. This is a major victory. for the American people,” Schumer said. said.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the congressman also approved his committee’s clean energy tax package, which includes consumer credits for Americans to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and for those who buy electric vehicles.

President Joe Biden celebrated movement on the bill, which encompasses key parts of his platform. It’s a “game changer for working families and our economy,” he said on Friday.

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

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

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

“American families don’t want Democrats policing the kinds of clothes and dryers they can put in their homes. What they want is for Democrats to start policing the streets of our city,” McConnell said.

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

ABC News

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