Senate Republicans are looking to line up a number of votes on amendments related to immigration and border security in the upcoming “vote-a-rama” related to the budget reconciliation bill — moves that could put pressure on Democrats in tough re-election races.
Democrats are attempting to move a trimmed down social spending bill via the budget reconciliation process — which only requires 50 votes in the Senate by circumventing the 60-vote filibuster, meaning it can pass without Republican support.
The bill includes prescription drug reform, major spending on climate issues, extends Affordable Care Act benefits, and increases taxes, including on large corporations. The legislation follows more than a year of Democratic negotiations on passing a bill using a process called budget reconciliation to get around the Senate filibuster.
The bill has been championed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Manchin torpedoed last year’s nearly $3 trillion “Build Back Better” proposals. The lawmakers have named the new legislation the “Inflation Reduction Act” and have claimed it would spend $433 billion, but raise $739 billion in tax revenue.
But using the reconciliation process means that the bill is open for a potentially unlimited number of amendments, and Republicans are hoping to take advantage.
With a raging border crisis that has not let up since it began last March, Republicans used a vote-a-rama in August to tee up a series of difficult votes for moderate Democrats on immigration, including funding for border security and interior immigration enforcement. Some of those measures received Democratic support.
A GOP Senate aide told Fox News Digital on Thursday that “multiple” amendments on issues related to the border and immigration are being teed up by different offices.
Meanwhile, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told reporters that he intends to introduce an amendment related to Title 42 — the public health order that has been used to expel a majority of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. The Biden administration has been seeking to end the order, but has so far been blocked from doing so by a federal court. Republicans, and some Democrats, have called on the Biden administration to extend or even enshrine the order.
The votes could put moderate Democrats — some who have expressed support for Title 42 and additional funding for border security measures — in a situation where they break with others in their party and vote for the Republican-backed amendments. If that is the case, then there’s a risk that other Democrats may balk at the additions, killing the legislation altogether.
It’s a situation that has led Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ., a key immigration dove, to sound the alarm for fellow Democrats.
“Adoption of amendments that would end access to asylum or expand Trump’s border wall will not repair our broken immigration and will put reconciliation at risk,” he tweeted this week. “We must defend immigrant communities against the GOP’s plans to use reconciliation to divide us and to advance Trump’s hateful and destructive policies towards immigrants.”
Schumer announced on Thursday that the Senate will convene on Saturday to hold a procedural vote to move forward with the reconciliation bill.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.