Senate Dems prep for vote-a-rama next week

Senate Dems prep for vote-a-rama next week

Democrats are preparing for the budget “vote-a-rama” next week in which senators can offer an unlimited amount of amendments to the GOP budget blueprint. 

The back-to-back votes on amendments are likely to go all night before a vote on final passage takes place. Democrats are intent on using the opportunity to send a clear message about the Republican plan, which is nonbinding and isn’t signed by the president. 

“The strategy on the floor would reflect the strategy in the committee,” Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D-Ore.) said Friday, which is to “highlight things that are simply wrong with [the GOP] budget.”

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During a Center for American Progress conference call with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Merkley said Democrats are planning to target a new amendment on defense spending that Republicans added to their budget Thursday. 

The amendment, offered by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHarris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Confirmation hearing for Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12 MORE (R-S.C.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE (R-N.H.), would boost the Pentagon’s war funding account to $96 billion, in an effort to match what House Republicans are seeking in their spending blueprint.

Republicans are leaning on the account, known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, to make up for the defense sequester that’s set to return in October. 

Merkley said Democrats oppose the amendment because it does nothing to also raise non-defense spending to domestic programs. 

“Certainly at a minimum, it should be an on-budget proposal,” Merkley said about the OCO amendment.

In addition to targeting the OCO provision, Merkley said Democrats will offer amendments that he said addresses how the GOP budget attacks people through their proposals for Medicare, food stamps and Medicaid. 

Democrats, he added, will also fight for better healthcare, infrastructure and education. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley warns Schumer to steer clear of Catholic-based criticisms of Barrett Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Harris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday to expect votes on at least one amendment Monday evening.