A Guide to the Overnight Senate Ritual Known as Vote-a-RamaBy
The U.S. Senate has its rules and rituals, perhaps none odder than the vote-a-rama -- an overnight vote-till-you-almost-drop ordeal that’s part of adopting a budget.
Because a budget will clear the way for Republicans’ long-sought tax cuts, the GOP is ready to go through with the vote-a-rama this Thursday night.
Here’s the rule: before a final budget vote, the Senate has to vote on a variety of amendments offered by Republicans and Democrats alike. Typically, the minority party takes the opportunity to tee up votes designed to embarrass members of the majority.
Already, Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington has filed an amendment to force Republicans to go on record about whether to eliminate the state and local tax deduction -- an issue that’s created an early snag in GOP tax-cut plans. Democrats also plan amendments on whether tax cuts should benefit the rich and increase the deficit. Non-binding policy votes on gun control and police brutality are expected and can be used in later campaign ads.
Insomniacs can watch it all on television. By sometime early Friday, the senators should be worn out and ready for a final vote on the budget, and -- spoiler alert -- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky appears to already have enough votes to get it through.