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Senate Republicans are seeking to line up a number of votes on amendments related to immigration and border security in the upcoming “vote-a-rama” tied to the budget reconciliation bill — moves that could pressuring Democrats in tough re-election races.
Democrats are trying to push through a social spending bill through the budget reconciliation process – which only needs 50 votes in the Senate bypassing the 60-vote filibuster, meaning it can pass without Republican support.
The bill includes prescription drug reform, significant spending on climate issues, expands benefits of the Affordable Care Act and increases taxes, including on big business. The legislation follows more than a year of Democratic negotiations to pass a bill using a process called budget reconciliation to circumvent the Senate filibuster.
The bill was championed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va. Manchin torpedoed last year’s nearly $3 trillion “Build Back Better” proposals. Lawmakers named the new legislation the “Reduction of Inflation Act” and claimed it would spend $433 billion but raise $739 billion in tax revenue.
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But using the reconciliation process means the bill is open to a potentially unlimited number of amendments, and Republicans hope to take advantage of that.
With a raging border crisis that hasn’t stopped since it began last March, Republicans used a vote-a-rama in August to kick off a series of tough votes for moderate Democrats on immigration , including border security funding and domestic immigration enforcement. Some of these measures have received support from Democrats.
A GOP Senate aide told Fox News Digital on Thursday that “multiple” amendments on border and immigration issues are being drafted by different offices.
Meanwhile, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told reporters he intended to introduce an amendment related to Title 42 – the public health order that was used to deport a majority of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. The Biden administration has sought 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 other members of their party and vote for the amendments supported by the Republicans. If so, there is a risk that other Democrats will 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 his fellow Democrats.
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“Passing amendments that would end access to asylum or expand Trump’s border wall will not fix our broken immigration and put reconciliation at risk,” he tweeted this week. “We must defend immigrant communities against GOP plans to use reconciliation to divide us and advance Trump’s hateful and destructive policies toward immigrants.”
Schumer announced Thursday that the Senate would meet on Saturday to hold a procedural vote to move the reconciliation bill forward.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.