The Senate turned away a handful of Republican amendments on Friday as Democrats worked to win approval of their budget for the first time in four years.
More than 400 amendments have been filed to the budget, but Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Spending fight shifts from Zika to Flint Black Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP MORE (D-Nev.) said Friday he’d seek to limit debate to between 25 and 35 of them in a "vote-a-rama."
On paper, Democrats can only afford five defections on the climactic budget vote, which is expected either late Friday or early Saturday morning. But Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has been ill and is not working today, which means Democrats can only afford four defections. His office said Friday he is available to vote on the budget if he is needed
Four of those senators — Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE of Arkansas, Mark BegichMark BegichRyan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority Senate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect MORE of Alaska, Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampWeek ahead: Funding fight dominates Congress Overnight Finance: McConnell offers 'clean' funding bill | Dems pan proposal | Flint aid, internet measure not included | More heat for Wells Fargo | New concerns on investor visas Iran president hints at future prisoner swaps, cash settlements with US MORE of North Dakota and Max BaucusMax BaucusChina moves to lift ban on US beef Overnight Healthcare: Zika fight stalls government funding talks | Census finds big drop in uninsured | Mental health bill faces wait Glover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft MORE of Montana — said Friday they remained undecided on the bill.
“We’ll see how it looks and how it’s amended,” said Pryor, a top target of Senate Republicans.
Other undecided Democrats to watch include Sens. Kay HaganKay HaganPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? Clinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race MORE (D-N.C.) and Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyDem presses Congress to pass veteran suicide measure Senate Democrats block defense funding bill for third time Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? MORE (D-Ind.). Hagan is also up for reelection in 2014, and her office said Friday she is still undecided.
Begich was pushing Friday for amendments totaling $400 million in spending cuts including to defense and agriculture.
There have been some signs that Democrats will be able to pass their budget.
Only one Democrat — Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrat vows to go after opioid makers – including daughter's company Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis Democrat defends daughter after tough EpiPen grilling MORE (D-W.Va.) — broke ranks to support a key GOP motion on Thursday night. The motion simply called for Democrats to rewrite their budget so that it balanced within 10 years.
The entire Democratic Caucus also rejected a GOP amendment to replace the budget's tax reform instructions, which raises $975 billion in revenue, with instructions to complete revenue-neutral tax reform.
Senators agreed to hold six amendment votes at around noon, including three from Republicans that fell in 45-54 party-line votes.
As expected, the Senate turned away language from Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzFive things to watch for at Trump-Clinton debate This week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Funding fight dominates Congress MORE (R-Texas) that would repeal the 2010 healthcare law. Repeal language would match the language found in the GOP budget the House passed on Thursday, but the Democratic Senate killed it 45-54.
Another GOP amendment, from Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteSenate rivals gear up for debates WATCH LIVE: Warren campaigns for Clinton in NH Green group endorses in key Senate races MORE (R-N.H.), would prevent a vote on any budget plan that calls for increased taxes when the unemployment rate is above 5.5 percent. The Senate killed her idea 45-54.
And a proposal from Sen. Mike CrapoMike CrapoLawmakers play catch-up as smartphone banking surges Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit MORE (R-Idaho), which would repeal the tax increases from the healthcare law, was also shot down 45-54.
The House did accept three Democratic amendments, including two that had support from Republicans. They would allow Congress to pass a law protecting women against paycheck discrimination and protect lower-income Americans from tax hikes. The first one was approved by voice vote.
Approval of amendments, however, does not change U.S. law, as they are simply amendments to a non-binding budget resolution. Thus, Thursday's approval of an amendment calling for an end to the medical device tax will not result in the actual repeal of that tax.
Reid and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems call for better birth control access for female troops US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.) say their plan would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion.
But it includes nearly $1 trillion in new taxes that could be difficult for some centrist Democrats to support. And because the Democratic budget turns off the sequester's automatic spending cuts, Republicans argue it would increase spending over the next decade.
The House approved its own budget on Thursday. It would lower tax rates while reducing spending by $5.7 trillion, and would balance in 10 years.
The two budgets are unlikely to be reconciled, but will serve as messaging vehicles for both sides, particularly as the White House works with Congress on a possible deficit-reduction deal in conjunction with raising the debt ceiling this summer.
--This report was updated at 3:45 p.m.