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Republicans seek to play offense in vote-a-rama

Senate Republicans still smarting over their unexpected demotion to the minority will go on offense Thursday by forcing Democrats to take tough votes on sending stimulus checks to immigrants living in the country illegally and raising taxes on small businesses.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-Ky.) previewed the strategy ahead of a marathon voting session on a Democratic budget resolution that will lay the groundwork for passing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package with a simple majority vote, avoiding a filibuster, later this year. 

The voting session is described by both parties as a vote-a-rama.

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“We’re going to put senators on the record …. We’ll see how our colleagues vote on these basic, commonsense steps. We’ll see what this resolution looks like on the other side — and what signals Democrats send the American people along the way,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday morning.

One of the top GOP priorities is to force Democrats to vote on an amendment sponsored by Sens. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Republican 2024 hopefuls draw early battle lines for post-Trump era MORE (R-Ind.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonDemocrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike Cotton defends call for Insurrection Act, assails 'child mob' at NYT Golden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online MORE (R-Ark.), a potential White House candidate in 2024, that would prohibit stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants.

The amendment applies to what is expected to be the third round of direct payments following checks sent out through last year’s CARES Act and the $900 billion rescue package passed in December.

The amendments, however, do not have the force of law as they are being offered to a budget resolution, which does not require the president’s signature.

“The Biden administration shouldn’t reward illegal immigrants for breaking our laws by giving them checks,” Cotton said in a statement.

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A second amendment sponsored by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDeSantis derides 'failed Republican establishment' at CPAC The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Mehdi Hasan gets MSNBC Sunday prime-time show MORE (R-Fla.), another potential White House hopeful, and Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottLobbying world Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Trump ready to make McConnell's life miserable MORE (R-S.C.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRepublicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' MORE (R-Okla.) calls for preventing tax increases on small businesses during the pandemic.

A third amendment sponsored by Scott, Lankford and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoBiden returns to Obama-era greenhouse gas calculation Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Senate confirms former Michigan governor Granholm as Energy secretary MORE (R-Wyo.) would reduce funding to states that are actively investigating nursing homes for underreported deaths.

A fourth sponsored by Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPartisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Microsoft, FireEye push for breach reporting rules after SolarWinds hack MORE (R-Mo.) and Scott would call for withholding supplemental funding from schools that do not reopen for in-person learning even after its teachers receive coronavirus vaccines.

The fifth amendment being highlighted by the GOP leaders is sponsored by Senate Minority Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Senate GOP works to avoid having '22 war with Trump MORE (R-S.D.) and calls for limiting the tax liability for medical professionals who crossed state lines to make up for a shortage of health care workers in areas hit hard by the pandemic. It would protect doctors, nurses and other professionals from having to pay state and local income taxes in multiple jurisdictions, in certain cases.