— Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiThis Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Overnight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails Intel Dems push for info on Russia and election be declassified MORE (D-Md.), to boost funding to enforce equal pay policies,
— Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteJuan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Battle brews over Trump’s foreign policy Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates MORE (R-N.H.), to prevent new tax increases when unemployment is higher than 5.5 percent,
— Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzSenate GOP: National museum should include Clarence Thomas Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Week ahead: AT&T-Time Warner merger under scrutiny MORE (R-Texas), to repeal the 2010 healthcare law,
— Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayTop Dem signals likely opposition to Sessions nomination Overnight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Senate Dems: Force Cabinet nominees to release tax returns MORE (D-Wash.), to provide tax relief for low- and middle-income families,
— Sen. Mike CrapoMike CrapoEx-Im faces new problems with Trump GOP debates going big on tax reform Top Banking Dem pushes back on Trump Dodd-Frank 'dismantle' MORE (R-Idaho), to repeal the tax increases in the 2010 healthcare law, and
— Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.), to ensure the protection of women's access to healthcare.
By 3 p.m., the Senate is expected to start a massive series of votes, as unlimited amendments are allowed on the budget resolution. As of late Thursday, there was no estimate for an end to this process, which has been branded with the unfortunate name "vote-a-rama."
It's expected to drift well into early Saturday morning — the end of it may simply depend on how tired senators get.
While the votes are potentially interesting, they are votes to add language to a non-binding budget resolution. Making them even less useful, approved amendments will become part of a budget plan that seems unlikely to be reconciled with the House-passed budget.
The House-passed budget slows the growth of spending, cuts taxes and balances in 10 years, while the Senate plan calls for $1 trillion in new taxes and never balances. It's difficult to imagine how to reconcile these two plans, and there are no outward signs so far that the House and Senate will even try.
At the same time, some of the amendment votes may send some interesting signals about the willingness of the Senate to make policy changes. For example, the Senate on Thursday voted 79-20 in favor of language that would end the 2.3 percent medical device tax — a sign that the Senate opposes the tax, even though it remains unclear how aggressively the Senate will push for a binding vote against it.
The House finished its work on Thursday by passing the GOP budget plan and the 2013 continuing resolution, and is now out for the next two weeks.