Senate Braces for Marathon Voting Session on Budget

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 12:35 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Republican senators are set to offer a slew of amendments later this week to the Democratic budget resolution, returning to what's expected to be a frenzied voting period not seen on the Senate floor for some time.

In a process unique to the budget resolution, which the Senate has not considered since the last one was introduced four years ago, senators from both parties can present as many amendments as they like, leading to what Politico describes as "a vote-a-rama."

Politico reported Wednesday that it's not clear when the marathon voting session will begin, but it depends partly on how long it takes to approve a six-month spending measure known as the continuing resolution, which is aimed at avoiding a government shutdown after March 27.

California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, told Politico that she expects to see several GOP opposition amendments introduced to the budget resolution, which has nothing to do with the continuing resolution that funds government operations through the end of the current fiscal year in September.

“It’s one vote after another with 30 seconds of debate for each person making it,” she said, adding that “it goes on and on until people just faint from exhaustion."

Senate Republicans are reportedly planning to focus their message during the process on the fact that the 10-year Democratic Senate plan doesn't actually balance the federal budget.

According to Politico, Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions is expected to introduce a substitute amendment that would replace the Democrats’ budget with one that is similar to the plan put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan in the House. Ryan's Republican plan balances the budget by 2023, but has been criticized by Democrats as too austere.

“There is absolutely nothing balanced about the House budget,” Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, said Tuesday at a news conference, adding that the Senate is going to “debate a truly balanced and responsible approach.”

Among the Republicans preparing to offer amendments to the Democratic Senate plan are Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
“We have a very long list,” Ayotte told Politico.

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