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Senate Democrats struggle in marathon voting session, finish line in sight

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  • Senate Democrats kicked off a marathon voting session late Saturday night.
  • As of Sunday morning, senators have been voting for nearly seven hours.
  • So far, no amendments have been passed, and there has been minimal drama.

Early Sunday morning, Senate Democrats are slowly moving toward passage of $740 billion in climate, health and tax legislation.

Senators are approaching an almost seven-hour marathon of voting in the midst of “voting llamas,” a procedural quirk that allows lawmakers to propose endless amendments until they run out.

The package, hammered out primarily between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, includes a number of measures.

It will allow Medicare to negotiate the price of some prescription drugs, establish more than $300 billion in clean energy tax credits, and expand financial assistance to help Americans pay an additional three dollars under the Affordable Care Act. You can enable the purchase of annual health insurance.

Repeated delays kept senators from starting the lama vote until Saturday at 11:31 p.m. in Washington. Final passage of the bill is expected sometime on Sunday, but it’s unclear how long senators will continue the slow amendment vote. As of 6:15am, they have gone through 16 amendments and other proceedings that are trying to derail the bill.

Before the polls began, Republicans in the Senate vowed to force Democrats to vote politically painful in an effort to capitalize on their positions in November’s midterm elections.

“What will the Llama vote look like? It’s hell,” South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham told reporters on Friday. “These are going to be tough votes for Democrats.”

Republican lawmakers have delivered on their promise to put politically dangerous votes on the heels of votes on immigration, oil taxes, the size of the IRS, and crime-related measures. So far, Democrats have largely stayed united, avoiding sweeping changes to the bill that could complicate or doom the proposal.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, continued his criticism of the bill for days. Sanders forced his three votes, but he was largely isolated. The only exception was when he filed an amendment requiring Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing benefits. But he was joined only by Democratic Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff.

Most controversially late Saturday night, New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan offered fellow Democrats a way to claim that she was trying to reverse the oil tax hike proposed throughout the bill. It was when

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina was ripped off by Hassan to the point that her Democratic colleagues started booing him. Eventually, four Democrats—Senator Katherine Cortez Mast, Mark Kelly, Ralphael Warnock, and Kirsten Cinema—joined her to advance her failed amendment.

Some senators told reporters that their co-workers were getting tired with the dawn, while others found ways to take a few short naps in the middle of the night.

“I’m up now. I’m up at 4,” said Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley at about 7 a.m.

Grassley was one of two Republicans who drew criticism for appearing to complain about being forced to stay in town.

“Each December Schumer announced the Senate schedule and set up a Grassley family reunion based on the schedule,” Grassley wrote on Twitter. , to fight the Democratic Party’s irresponsible tax and spending bills.”

Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida complained that the “garbage bill” was throwing him off schedule.

Rubio, who was a 2016 presidential candidate, said, “I woke up at 5am and got an email at 3am saying my 8:30am flight was canceled, but one more time tomorrow night at 8pm. has been rebooked with a connection,” he tweeted. To DC for the joy of “voting llamas” on the garbage bill. ”

The Lama vote is a special part of the Senate process because Democrats want to implement the plan without a single Republican vote under the budget adjustment process.

This allows Democrats to blow through the usual obstacles of filibusters and the 60-vote threshold that effectively nullifies most laws. Minority parties, on the other hand, cannot rely on the usual protection of a filibuster, so they use vote alamas to damage their political opponents.

Unlike Grassley, Senator James Inhove, who retires next year, said he couldn’t afford to take a nap.

“I don’t take naps. Once I’m asleep, it’s over,” the 87-year-old Imhove told reporters, taking a breath of fresh air.

A lot of the attention went to Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving Democrat in the House. After a long night of voting, Leahy told reporters he was feeling good.

“Pat, I’m glad you’re here. We don’t have to suffer alone,” Leahy told reporters, Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine told him.