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 McConnellSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 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 YoungOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Senators to take up defense bill Wednesday Schumer: Time is 'now' to repeal Iraq War resolution It's time to give Medicare beneficiaries the opportunity and choice of recovery in the home MORE (R-Ind.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonCotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks China draws scrutiny over case of tennis star Peng Shuai 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 RubioWisconsinites need infrastructure that is built to last  Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Rubio: Dropping FARC from terrorist list threatens Colombians, US security MORE (R-Fla.), another potential White House hopeful, and Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHow expanded credit data can help tackle inequities Dems erupt over GOP 'McCarthyism' as senators vet Biden bank watchdog pick Why Democrats' prescription drug pricing provision would have hurt seniors MORE (R-S.C.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordConstant threats to government funding fail the American public GOP Senate candidate says Fauci is 'mass murderer,' should be jailed rather than 'hero' Rittenhouse Bill requiring companies report cyber incidents moves forward in the Senate 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 BarrassoSunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant Barrasso calls Biden's agenda 'Alice in Wonderland' logic: 'He's the Mad Hatter' Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist 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 BluntPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead 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 ThuneSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline 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.