Progressive senators said they would vote against any amendments to Democrats’ proposed climate and health care legislation ahead of a series of marathon votes ahead of the bill’s passage.
The remarks came ahead of a Senate vote to pass the so-called 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a process known as budget settlement, which would allow them to pass the bill with a simple majority and avoid Republican filibusters.
As part of the budget reconciliation, the Senate will conduct a “vote ballot” in which senators vote for back-to-back amendments at a rapid pace, usually no more than ten minutes per amendment.
On Saturday morning, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, one of the most vocal advocates for tackling climate change, said he would oppose any amendment, including those he supports.
“We still have a lot of work to do to meet our climate and equity commitments, but after a year of fighting, we have reached an agreement with 50 votes and a historic investment,” he said. “This weekend, I will vote accordingly to protect the agreement, which means voting against an amendment, even one that I support.”
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii echoed that sentiment in another tweet.
“We have a deal that will take the largest climate action in American history. Every Senate Democrat has agreed. I can think of many ways to strengthen it, but I will not undermine this bill by supporting change. I will Vote against all amendments – even things I like. Let’s get the job done.”
Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, one of the most important negotiators on the legislation’s climate side, echoed that sentiment, saying she would oppose the amendment she supports.
“This bill has made historic progress on climate action and reducing the cost of prescription drugs. It has 50 votes and we need to stand united to keep it that way,” she said.
California Senator Alex Padilla agreed with his counterpart, saying, “Let’s stay united and get this historic bill done.”
Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders addressed the Senate calling for changes to the legislation.
“Now is the time for every member of the Senate to thoroughly study the bill and come up with amendments and recommendations on how to improve it,” he said. A united front from Democrats, however, suggested the Independent from Vermont could be isolated.
The united front comes as Senator Elizabeth McDonough has released consultations on various parts of the Inflation Reduction Act. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday that Ms. McDonough allowed the creation of terms that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
“Democrats have received very good news: Medicare will be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices for the first time, seniors will get free vaccines and cap their costs, and more,” he said in a statement. “This is a big deal for the American people. Victory. While there is an unfortunate ruling that the scope of the inflation rebate is more limited, the entire program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally taking on Big Pharma and lowering prescription drug prices for millions of Americans.”
In addition, Delaware Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper said Ms. McDonough said the legislation’s climate equity provisions passed Congress.
“I am particularly pleased that our methane reduction plan, environmental justice block grant and climate bank provisions have been approved,” he said in a statement.