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 McConnellNAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Sununu says he skipped Senate bid to avoid being 'roadblock' to Biden for two years 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act 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 YoungDemocrats return with lengthy to-do list Don't just delay student debt, prevent it Senate confirms Rahm Emanuel to be ambassador to Japan MORE (R-Ind.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  Will Putin sink Biden? 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 RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement Florida looms large in Republican 2024 primary How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm MORE (R-Fla.), another potential White House hopeful, and Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill How expanded credit data can help tackle inequities MORE (R-S.C.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Constant threats to government funding fail the American public GOP Senate candidate says Fauci is 'mass murderer,' should be jailed rather than 'hero' Rittenhouse 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 BarrassoMcConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection Biden's court picks face fierce GOP opposition 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 BluntJohnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection The end of orphanages starts with family strengthening programs 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 ThuneSinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm Democrats: Don't reject GOP offer to fix electoral count law 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.