President Obama has put the new method, known as chained consumer price index, on the table in deficit talks with Republicans. Using it reduces entitlement benefits like Social Security over time and also raises revenues by reducing the value of tax breaks.
The vote on the amendment was by voice vote, so its usefulness in quantifying Senate opposition to the proposal is minimal. The amendment is non-binding because it is attached to the budget resolution, which does not have the force of law.
Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (I-Vt.), Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinFCC needs to help services for the deaf catch up to videoconferencing tech Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa MORE (D-Iowa), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Hillicon Valley: Facebook tightens teen protections | FBI cautions against banning ransomware payments | Republicans probe White House-social media collaboration MORE (D-Hawaii) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats draw red lines in spending fight What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling Climate hawks pressure Biden to replace Fed chair MORE (D-R.I.) sponsored the amendment.
Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNC Republican primary key test of Trump's sway The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill Senate votes to end debate on T infrastructure bill MORE (R-N.C.) said he supported protecting veterans, but supported using chained CPI elsewhere.
“I support chained CPI, just like the president when it comes to entitlement reform,” he said.
Sanders pushed for a roll call vote, but was talked out of it by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayConservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Support the budget resolution to ensure a critical investment in child care Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama MORE (D-Wash.).
The Senate then voted on a proposal by Burr to create a new barrier to any proposal to raise taxes on veterans. The Murray budget calls for $1 trillion in new tax revenue and raising that amount--or any amount in the individual tax code--could effectively be blocked by the Burr provision, Democrats argued.
The Burr amendment was voted not germane to the bill by a 45 to 54 vote.
The powerful seniors lobbying group AARP hailed the vote.
“With the adoption of Senator Sanders’ amendment, the Senate makes clear the need to protect retirees, veterans and others from an unwarranted cut to their benefits. Much more than a mere technical adjustment or a ‘tweak,’ the chained CPI would, over the next ten years, take a combined $146 billion out of the pockets of America’s veterans and seniors who are already living on tight budgets," it said in a statement.
--This report was updated at 10:29 p.m.