Several weeks ago the Senate held a “vote-a-rama” related to amends to the federal budget. This is the first of a three part series of reactions to this event by Widener University students studying Congress this semester.
by Jocelyn Reinecke
Widener University Political Science Major
After four years, the first vote-a-rama on a Senate budget resolution is being set to begin later this week. A vote-a-rama is special section of the Senate rules allowing amendments related to the annual Budget Resolution. All of the amendments must be relevant and are voted on consecutively without real debate since The Budget is not subject to filibuster. Each amendment is considered and voted on within about ten to fifteen minutes until all of the amendments are completed.
The GOP is has a list of priority amendments. The Democrats are pairing Republican amendments with Democratic alternatives. Both parties have strategic game plans on how they are going to spend their debate time limit of 25 hours. Democrats are focusing on amendments that target pieces of House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal plan. Republicans, on the other hand, are targeting amendments that address provisions of the health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), restrict the Environmental Protection Agency, and insist on a revenue-neutral tax overhaul.
All of this really makes one think about how much this sounds like a big card game. Both teams are going back and forth, putting down their different cards, coming up with strategies and game plans for different scenarios that may plan out. I think that it is great that there seems to be some urgency to votes on legislation actually occur. However, it also seems like they are trying to prolong things, that they are trying to see how long they can keep pushing this back without having to have a final decision. It seems like when there is a solution created to help move legislation along faster and more efficiently, a new excuse arises on why decisions cannot be made yet or agreed upon. The next few days are going to be interesting to watch and see who played what card, how long both parties put up their fights, and what the budget resolution will be.