Let’s Go To The Vote-A-Rama Highlights

Here Are The Plays From Last Week’s Marathon Voting Session That You Need To See Again


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Last week, the Senate had a 14-hour voting marathon on amendments to the phony partisan budget that Democrats jammed through as a procedural step. We got Senators on the record on a host of questions that matter to American families. Sadly Democrats blocked our efforts to say that, at the very least, school districts where teachers have been vaccinated certainly need to reopen… to press states to accurately report nursing-home deaths… to protect the free exercise of religion… and several more. Other amendments divided Democrats and were adopted. For example, over some Democrats’ objections, the Senate said illegal immigrants should not receive stimulus checks… that the Keystone XL Pipeline should not be cancelled… and that our government should not declare war on fracking.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/08/2021)

  • SEN. McCONNELL: “For the sake of America’s kids, American jobs, and Americans’ health, Democrats should put the political games aside and resume the same kinds of bipartisan talks they demanded constantly all last year. American families deserve a process and a bill that put their actual needs at the center.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/08/2021)


Democrats Run A Reverse: They Vote To Strip Out Bipartisan Amendments Agreed To Just Hours Earlier

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[O]ver some Democrats’ objections, the Senate said illegal immigrants should not receive stimulus checks… that the Keystone XL Pipeline should not be cancelled… and that our government should not declare war on fracking. But — amazingly enough — at the end of the night, the very same Senate Democrats who’d sought to appear moderate by supporting those three things turned around and voted in lockstep to strip them out. Our colleagues who said they supported these changes voted to strip them right back out at the end of the night. That’s about as Washington D.C. as it gets.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/08/2021)

  • SEN. McCONNELL: “Colleagues, what they have done here is to reverse three important amendments that were adopted on a bipartisan basis. They, in effect, have taken out the proposal that prevented checks from going to illegals, they have taken out support for fracking, and they have taken out support for the Keystone Pipeline. So they are trying to reverse what they previously adopted along with us on a bipartisan basis. I would urge the adoption of my amendment.” (Sen. McConnell, Congressional Record, S460, 2/04/2021)

“Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced an amendment to strip away three GOP-sponsored amendments that had passed earlier in the night with bipartisan majorities. Those amendments opposed stimulus checks for illegal aliens, opposed Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline and supported fracking. Harris cast a tie-breaking vote in support of Schumer’s amendment and it passed.” (“Here’s Where Senate Republicans, Democrats Stood On Controversial Issues During The Vote-A-Rama,” Fox News, 2/05/2021)

  • “Democrats and Republicans also joined together to approve amendments focused on ensuring undocumented immigrants don’t receive stimulus checks, in addition to measures aimed at helping restaurants during the pandemic, raising public awareness about vaccine administration, helping rural hospitals, and not hiking taxes on small businesses during the health crisis. Democrats later stripped out the three bipartisan amendments preventing checks from going to undocumented immigrants, in addition to provisions expressing support for fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline.” (“Senate Approves Budget To Sideline GOP On Biden’s $1.9T Stimulus,” Politico, 2/04/2021)

Sens. Mark Kelly, (D-AZ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jon Tester (D-MT) voted to prevent stimulus checks from being sent to illegal immigrants, and then voted to strip that provision from the resolution. (S.Amdt. 54, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #18: Amendment Agreed to 58-42: D 8-42; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021; Kelly, Hassan, Hickenlooper, Manchin, Peters, Sinema, Stabenow, and Tester voted Yea; S.Amdt. 888, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #52: Adopted, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a "yea" vote to break the tie, 50-50 : D 48-0; R 0-50; I 2-0; Kelly, Hassan, Hickenlooper, Manchin, Peters, Sinema, Stabenow, and Tester voted Yea)

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT) voted to prohibit the EPA from banning fracking in the United States and then voted to strip that provision from the resolution. (S.Amdt. 833 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #28: Agreed to 57-43, D 7-47, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/04/2021; Bennet, Casey, Heinrich, Hickenlooper, Lujan, Manchin, and Tester voted Yea; S.Amdt. 888, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #52: Adopted, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a "yea" vote to break the tie, 50-50 : D 48-0; R 0-50; I 2-0; Bennet, Casey, Heinrich, Hickenlooper, Lujan, Manchin, and Tester voted Yea)

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) voted to restore the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and then voted to strip that provision from the resolution. (S.Amdt. 678, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #32: Adopted 52-48: D 2-46; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021; Manchin and Tester voted Yea; S.Amdt. 888, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #52: Adopted, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a "yea" vote to break the tie, 50-50 : D 48-0; R 0-50; I 2-0; Manchin and Tester voted Yea)


Scoring Plays: Multiple Republican Amendments Were Supported On A Bipartisan Basis

Opposing Stimulus Checks For Illegal Immigrants

58 Senators, including 8 Democrats, voted to prevent stimulus checks from being sent to illegal immigrants. (S.Amdt. 54, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #18: Amendment Agreed to 58-42: D 8-42; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): “Economic Impact Payments were intended to provide a lifeline to Americans struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic. They were not intended for people who are in our country illegally. Our amendment would ensure that people who break our immigration laws aren’t receiving taxpayer-funded handouts.” (Sens. Young and Cotton, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): “The Biden administration shouldn’t reward illegal immigrants for breaking our laws by giving them checks. Instead of courting foreigners with U.S. taxpayer funds, President Biden should use that money to aid American schools, businesses, and families.” (Sens. Young and Cotton, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

House Democrats Tried For Most Of 2020 To Pass Legislation Granting Recovery Rebates To Illegal Immigrants

“Democratic Reps. Lou Correa of California, Judy Chu of California and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona on April 3 introduced the bill, the Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act, ‘to allow 2020 recovery rebates to be made on the basis of an individual’s taxpayer identification number.’ … The bill would amend the qualifications necessary to receive federal support provided by the CARES Act, the emergency coronavirus relief bill passed in March. The CARES Act requires recipients of benefits to provide a valid Social Security number, which undocumented immigrants don’t have and can’t legally get…. The Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act would amend the CARES Act by adding an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number as an acceptable credential to receive government benefits. An ITIN is a number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to make sure people who are not permitted to receive a Social Security number pay taxes ‘regardless of their immigration status,’ according to the American Immigration Council, a nonprofit immigration research and advocacy organization…. [E]xpanding eligibility for federal relief to include individuals with ITINs would help expand aid to only some undocumented immigrants because not all undocumented immigrants have ITINs…. The Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act would expand access to the CARES Act federal relief to individuals who have an ITIN, benefiting the many undocumented immigrants in that situation …” (“Fact Check: House Bill Expands Stimulus Checks To Some, Not All, Undocumented Immigrants,” USA Today, 4/23/2020)

The May 2020 version of Democrats’ HEROES Act allowed illegal immigrants to receive the new rebates proposed in that bill. (H.R. 6800, 116th Congress, pp. 165-167)

As did Democrats’ second version of HEROES in October 2020. (House Rules Committee Print 116-66, House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 925, 9/29/2020, pp. 722-724)


Supporting The Keystone XL Pipeline

A bipartisan majority in the Senate supported restoring the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Biden revoked as one of his first actions in office. (S.Amdt. 678, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #32: Adopted 52-48: D 2-46; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. STEVE DAINES (R-MT): “[D]espite President Biden’s call for unity, with the stroke of a pen, he killed the Keystone XL Pipeline and the thousands of jobs that come with it. He eliminated tens of millions of dollars of tax revenues for communities in Montana for education, for law enforcement, for infrastructure, as well as across the West. Hard-working Americans across our country, dozens of families in Montana have already been given the pink slip. They were told to go home. Their paycheck is gone. This isn’t because of a pandemic; this is because of President Biden. I hope all of my colleagues join me today for the good of American energy and our blue-collar workers, or they can stand with the job-killing Green New Deal agenda. The choice is clear.” (Sen. Daines, Congressional Record, S.445, 2/04/2021)

Union Workers Who Lost Their Jobs When President Biden Canceled The Pipeline: ‘It’s Going To Hurt A Lot Of People, A Lot Of Families, A Lot Of Communities’

“On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order revoking the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, pleasing climate activists … Pipelines are built seasonally for 19 ½ weeks at a time, on average, so the jobs created to build them are considered short-term. In 2014, the State Department estimated that Keystone would employ 10,400 workers over multiple construction seasons, thereby adding up to 3,900 jobs. Now, without a pipeline to construct, hundreds of workers are unemployed. According to TC Energy, the Canadian company building Keystone, ‘nearly 1,000’ laborers were laid off as a result of the executive order.” (“‘It Makes You Want To Give Up.’ Keystone Workers Feel Left Behind By Biden Executive Orders,” CBS News, 2/04/2021)

  • “As a member of LiUNA Local 620, Tyler Noel, 33, said the bonds he’s forged working on pipelines for thirteen years is ‘the only thing I’ve got right now.’ … Without the promise of Keystone, Noel finds himself at a ‘crossroads.’ Work in Murdo [South Dakota] ended in December…. As a result, Noel has been forced to refinance his truck and knows others who have refinanced their homes…. For Noel, the idea of transitioning from his long-practiced trade to a new one is ‘just crazy.’ … ‘If you do a task, do a job, for thirteen years, you’d like to think in thirteen years you’d be somewhat comfortable and then not have to worry about a job,’ Noel said. ‘What was the last thirteen years for? The last thirteen years of being out on the road, being away from family and for what? For me to be sitting here right now talking to you about this?’” (“‘It Makes You Want To Give Up.’ Keystone Workers Feel Left Behind By Biden Executive Orders,” CBS News, 2/04/2021)
  • “Neal Crabtree, a welding foreman who began working on pipeline construction as an apprentice in 1997, was dismayed when he heard the news…. A member of Pipeliners Local Union 798, one of four unions whose members will be left without work due to the pipeline’s cancellation, the 46-year-old welder from Arkansas was among the first to be laid off following the order. At the time the cross-border permits for the pipeline were rescinded, he and his team were in Nebraska working on a pump station for Keystone XL. In a Facebook post from the Wednesday, Crabtree wrote he felt ‘a sick feeling in my stomach and an aching in my heart,’ and admitted to breaking down and crying in his truck after laying off his team. ‘Just like the rest of the country, COVID hurt us bad. We had a lot of projects canceled,’ he told Fox News. ‘We’ve got guys that haven’t worked in months, and in some cases years, and to have a project of this magnitude canceled, it’s going to hurt a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities.’” (“Laid-Off Keystone XL Worker Says Decision To Cancel Pipeline ‘Is Going To Hurt A Lot Of People,’” Fox News, 1/25/2021)


Opposing A Nationwide Fracking Ban

57 senators, including 7 Democrats, voted to prohibit the EPA from banning fracking in the United States. (S.Amdt. 833 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #28: Agreed to 57-43, D 7-47, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): “[M]y amendment helps ensure that the EPA cannot, through regulation or otherwise, ban fracking in the United States. This is an issue of energy independence, locking in our CO2 emissions reduction provided by clean natural gas, and it gives us time to find the cleanest, least expensive options down the road. … But fracking has been a boon to the economy as well. According to the Global Energy Institute, if fracking were banned in 2021, the U.S. economy would lose 19 million jobs in 4 years, local and State tax revenues would plummet, and gas prices would double. This is why President Biden promised: We will not ban fracking; we will protect and grow jobs. Yet many in this body have called to ban fracking. The American people deserve to know who stands with energy security and American workers. I ask my colleagues to support this amendment.” (Sen. Braun, Congressional Record, S442, 02/04/2021)

“Fracking… has supported 10.3 million jobs in the oil and gas industry, or 5.6% of the labor force.” (“Biden’s Fracking Stance May Cut 19M Jobs, Raise Electric Prices: Energy Secretary,” Fox Business, 11/02/2020)


Supporting The Replacement For The Obama Administration’s Costly And Intrusive Waters Of The United States Regulation

A bipartisan majority in the Senate supported preserving the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which replaced the burdensome, unworkable, and intrusive Obama administration Waters of the US Rule. (S.Amdt.655, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #43: Adopted 51-49: D 1-47; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): “[W]e know the burden that implementing the 2015 WOTUS rule would have had on farming, agriculture, energy production, and construction activities across this country and in our State of West Virginia. The legal challenges that followed resulted in years of uncertainty and confusion. Finally, in 2020, the EPA announced the Navigable Waters Protection Rule as a replacement. It is clear, commonsense policy, and States like it. As a matter of fact, the Navigable Waters Rule is now in effect in 49 States. President Biden has revoked President Trump’s executive order that led to the Navigable Waters Rule, making it likely the rule will be revisited in this administration. Replacing this Navigable Waters Rule with something like the 2015 WOTUS rule would completely redefine and reframe all water policy and devastate farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners. We have had enough uncertainty. Let’s not create more. This amendment would preserve the continued implementation of the Navigable Waters Rule. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this amendment.” (Sen. Capito, Congressional Record, S.453, 2/04/2021)

“Capito proposed an amendment to preserve the implementation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which the Trump administration finalized in January 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency said last year the rule gives a clearer definition of which waters are federally regulated compared to older federal policies. The rule also gives states more autonomy in managing water resources. … The policy replaced the Waters of the United States rule, which the Trump administration argued provided broad and unclear definitions on waters subject to regulations. … The Senate adopted the amendment 51-49; [Sen. Joe] Manchin [D-WV] was the only Democrat who voted in support.” (“US Senate Moves Closer To Passing Coronavirus Package After Approving Budget Resolution,” MetroNews, 2/05/2021)


Supporting Medical Care For Infants Who Survive Abortion Procedures

A bipartisan majority in the Senate supported requiring physicians to give medical care to infants who survive abortion procedures. (S.Amdt. 192, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #23: Motion rejected 52-48 : D 2-46; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): “This amendment, modeled on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is an opportunity to come together and to defend babies. It is pretty simple, actually. Every baby, whether she is born in a state-of-the-art hospital with a NICU unit or whether she is born in an abortion clinic in a strip mall, every baby is born with dignity and is created in God’s image, and she deserves care. This amendment is aimed at making sure that babies who survive abortions get the same degree of care that any other newborn would. There is nothing partisan about that. That is why my Democratic colleagues, Joe Manchin and Bob Casey, both voted for this last year as legislation. We disagree on a bunch of stuff, but not this. There is a lot of complicated debate in this Chamber, but this isn’t actually one of them. Here is a chance for 100 Senators to come together and support every baby. Every baby deserves a fighting chance.” (Sen. Sasse, Congressional Record, S.439, 2/04/2021)


Prioritizing Deportations Of Violent Criminals

A bipartisan majority in the Senate supported implementing policies that prioritize taking into custody illegal immigrants who have been charged with a crime that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. (S.Amdt. 132 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #25: Motion rejected 52-48, D 1-47, R 50-0, I 1-1, 2/04/2021)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): “[T]his amendment reflects the intent of S. 80, Sarah’s Law, which would amend the mandatory detention provisions of the INA to require the detention of anyone unlawfully present in the United States who is charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. It honors the life of a girl from Iowa, Sarah Root. Her life was tragically cut short by a drunk driver who was illegally here in the United States. Sarah’s Law currently has 21 cosponsors. One of the first things the Biden administration did was stop prioritizing violent aliens for deportation. This amendment reflects that DHS should not implement such policies. … I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment.” (Sen. Ernst, Congressional Record, S440, 2/04/2021)


Maintaining The U.S. Embassy In Israel’s Location In Jerusalem

97 senators voted for Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Bill Hagerty’s (R-TN) amendment to maintain the location of the US Embassy in Israel in the capital of Jerusalem. (S.Amdt. 786, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #30: Adopted 97-3: D 46-2; R 50-0; I 1-1, 2/04/2021)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “[T]his amendment shouldn’t be controversial to anyone. It has been our position in the United States for 25 years that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and we should have our Embassy in Jerusalem. This is not controversial.” (Sen. Inhofe, Congressional Record, S.444, 2/04/2021)

SEN. BILL HAGERTY (R-TN): “I am pleased to join the senior Senator from Oklahoma as the lead cosponsor of this amendment in support of our shared objective, maintaining the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, the eternal and the indivisible capital of the Jewish State of Israel. This Embassy is paving the way for peace throughout the region and should be preserved. Now our allies there know we will stand with them.” (Sen. Hagerty, Congressional Record, S.444, 2/04/2021)


Ensuring State And Local Governments Don’t Treat Religious Institutions Differently Under COVID Restrictions Than Secular Institutions

A bipartisan majority in the Senate voted to allow limitations on additional funding to state and local governments that impose greater limits on gatherings for religious institutions than they do on secular organizations. (S.Amdt. 837, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #44: Adopted 51-49: D 1-47; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): “The First Amendment of our Constitution states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This has not been a controversial thing in our history and also does not have an asterisk next to it saying, ‘Unless there is a pandemic.’ We don’t restrict freedom of religion. We just don’t do that. This has been a great debate in our Nation over the past year as we have seen restrictions on churches and mosques and on synagogues. This is a very simple statement. All this is asking for is to make sure that we treat faith-based entities the same as we do secular entities. It is not asking for special treatment. It is saying that if you treat a bar one way, then a block away, you have to treat a synagogue the same way; if you treat a store one way, a block away, if there is a church, you have to treat them the same way; if there are outdoor gatherings that are allowed in the city, there has to be outdoor religious gatherings also allowed. It is asking for the same treatment, not special treatment. That is all that this is--to try to affirm this.” (Sen. Lankford, Congressional Record, S.453, 2/04/2021)


Expanding Health Savings Accounts

A bipartisan majority in the Senate voted to expand the availability of health savings accounts and the expenses they could cover. (S.Amdt. 253, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #48: Adopted 53-47: D 3-45; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): “[H]ealth savings accounts are good for the American people. They increase the availability that families have--the access that families have to healthcare. They make it more affordable, and they also bring about competition in healthcare, which tends to bring up quality and also bring down cost. That is good for everyone. Now, the expansion of the use of health savings accounts could be encouraged by allowing any health insurance plan to be considered HSA eligible, by increasing the maximum HSA contributions, and by allowing for more preventive and health maintenance expenses to be covered, including the use of dietary supplements and nutritional supplements. This would not directly affect ObamaCare, and expanding HSAs would simply give Americans more opportunities and would bring down cost while increasing the quality of the healthcare they receive.” (Sen. Lee, Congressional Record, S.456, 2/04/2021)


Expanding Clean American Natural Gas Production

A bipartisan majority in the Senate supported expanding natural gas as a fuel source to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (S.Amdt. 461 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #50: Motion rejected 51-49, D 1-47, R 50-0, I 0-2, 02/05/2021)

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): “[P]rior to the pandemic over the last several years, our country did something remarkable. We grew our economy, created millions of good-paying energy jobs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, from 2005 to 2017, the United States reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 15 percent--way more than any other country in the world. How did we do that? The dramatic increase in America’s production of clean-burning natural gas was largely responsible for all of this. So my amendment is very simple. It calls for the continued expansion of American natural gas production and energy infrastructure to create more jobs, grow our economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” (Sen. Sullivan, Congressional Record, S458, 02/04/2021)


Wide Open: All 50 Senate Democrats Agree To 4 Republican Amendments

Opposing Increasing Taxes On Small Businesses During A Pandemic

All 100 senators voted for Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and James Lankford’s amendment opposing tax increases on small businesses during a pandemic. (S.Amdt. 69, S.Con.Res.5, Roll Call Vote #16: Amendment Agreed to 100-0: D 48-0; R 50-0; I 2-0, 2/04/2021)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): “Last Congress, as Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, I was proud to join with both Democrats and Republicans to provide more than $800 billion in federal funding to help our nation’s small businesses and the Americans they employ survive the COVID-19 pandemic… Today, Senators Tim Scott, James Lankford, and I are offering our colleagues a chance to once again prioritize our nation’s more than 30 million small businesses and their employees by committing to not increase taxes on them during a pandemic. It is clear that Democrats in Congress intend to pursue a radical agenda full of left-wing priorities, but it is common sense to ensure small businesses do not face tax hikes while they are struggling to keep their doors open during this public health crisis.” (Sen. Rubio, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “Millions of small businesses have closed their doors during this pandemic, and thousands more are on the verge of shuttering… Our responsibility is to ensure these job creators keep their doors open and keep their employees paid. Raising taxes on small businesses would do the exact opposite and devastate Main Streets from Saluda to Springfield.” (Sen. Tim Scott, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): “The last thing small businesses need during the Covid pandemic is more uncertainty. Over the last year, Oklahoma’s small businesses faced several obstacles and have heeded the call to overcome shutdowns to protect our most vulnerable. A tax increase is the last thing they need right now. As we continue to rebuild our economy, we should encourage policies that promote jobs and reopening safely, not adding one more thing that threatens their survival.” (Sen. Lankford, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

Some Democrats Had Been Floating The Idea Of Passing A Minimum Wage Increase Via Reconciliation By Designing It As A Tax Hike On Businesses

“Democrats are attempting to pass the minimum wage boost through budget reconciliation, a quicker process that means they don’t need any Republican support for the bill…. Passing the legislation through reconciliation has drawn support from lawmakers such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Bernie Sanders …” (“Democrats Want To Pass A $15 Minimum Wage Through Reconciliation. It’s Unclear If They Can,” CNBC, 2/01/2021)

“Democrats are discussing several ways to still approve the measures through reconciliation, including by crafting the minimum-wage increase as a tax against companies that don’t pay the wage, according to lawmakers and aides.” (“Democrats See Path to Biden’s Covid-19 Relief Bill Without GOP Help,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/26/2021)

CBO Estimates With A $15 Minimum Wage Mandate, 1.4 Million Workers Would Be Out Of A Job

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE: “Taking those factors into account, CBO projects that, on net, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would reduce employment by increasing amounts over the 2021–2025 period. In 2025, when the minimum wage reached $15 per hour, employment would be reduced by 1.4 million workers (or 0.9 percent), according to CBO’s average estimate.” (“The Budgetary Effects Of The Raise The Wage Act Of 2021, Congressional Budget Office, 2/08/2021)


Agreeing Any New Stimulus Checks Should Be Targeted

99 Senators voted for Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) amendment to ensure that economic impact payments don’t go to wealthier people who don’t need them. (S.Amdt.775, S.Con.Res.5, Roll Call Vote #19: Amendment Agreed to 99-1: D 48-0; R 49-1; I 2-0, 2/04/2021)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): “It is very unlikely that American households with family incomes of $300,000 have suffered significant financial harm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our amendment ensures that this much-needed financial relief gets in the pockets of the struggling families that need it most.” (Sen. Collins, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

Under House Democrats’ Spending Plan, Some Families Making More Than $300,000 Could Receive Stimulus Checks

“As structured by House Democrats, some portion of the [stimulus] checks could end up going to families making more than $300,000 a year who have not suffered income loss during the pandemic.” (“Biden Says He’s Willing To Negotiate Parameters Of Coronavirus Deal, But ‘Time Is Of The Essence’,” The Washington Post, 1/25/2021)

Restoring Funding To Schools That Would Be Shortchanged From Revenue Loses Due To President Biden’s Moratorium On Oil And Natural Gas Leasing On Federal Lands

98 Senators voted for Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) amendment to support schools in states with lost revenue due to the federal moratorium on oil and natural gas leasing on public lands and offshore. (S.Amdt. 653 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #22: Adopted 98-2, D 48-0, R 48-2, I 2-0, 02/04/2021)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): “[M]y amendment addresses the serious impacts of the Biden administration moratorium on oil and natural gas leases and the impact on Federal lands and waters. Wyoming and many States across the West have Federal land where there is oil and gas development. The revenue generated from the lease sales goes to States, which use it for essential services. One of the many crushing consequences of the moratorium is eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars for K-12 education for students, funding all of these States. In 2019 alone, revenues from oil and gas contributed $740 million to Wyoming’s public schools. This amendment creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect students and schools from this misguided moratorium by restoring these lost funds to the States.” (Sen. Barrasso, Congressional Record, 02/04/2021)


Ensuring Law Enforcement Officers Have The Funds They Need

All 100 senators voted for Sen. Cornyn’s (R-TX) amendment to ensure law enforcement officers get the funding they need to do their jobs. (S.Amdt. 558, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #35: Adopted 100-0: D 48-0; R 50-0; I 2-0, 2/05/2021)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “[T]he amendment I offered would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide additional resources to our Nation’s law enforcement officers. We know that the money provided by the Federal Government could be used for a number of reasons, like deescalation training, crime victims’ outreach programs, mental health and drug treatment programs to reduce recidivism, and the like. This money could also be used to support the efforts to combat domestic and international terrorism. I encourage my colleagues to support this amendment. We have a chance to show that we back the blue by voting yes on this amendment. I ask my colleagues to vote for it.” (Sen. Cornyn, Congressional Record, S.448, 2/04/2021)


Flag On The Play: Democrats Vote Down Commonsense Republican Proposals

Democrats Side With Teachers’ Unions Against Students, Rejecting An Amendment That Would Block Funding For Schools That Won’t Reopen Even After Teachers Are Vaccinated

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against preventing new funds going to school districts that still won’t reopen even after teachers have been vaccinated. (S.Amdt. 48, S Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #17: Amendment Rejected 50-50: D 0-48; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): “The evidence is clear: school closures are hurting students… Prolonged remote learning is putting kids at higher risk of falling behind, failing classes, and suffering from mental health problems. That risk is even greater for students with disabilities and students in underserved areas. Public health professionals, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said we should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and get kids back into classrooms. The science confirms schools can and should reopen safely. Unfortunately, despite President Biden’s pledge to reopen schools within his first 100 days, the administration is bending to the will of politically-connected teachers unions. Congress has made in-person learning a priority, providing $67.5 billion for K-12 schools to reopen safely. Doing what is right for kids should be an area where we can reach bipartisan agreement. I urge all of my colleagues to join us in supporting this amendment.” (Sen. Blunt, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “Keeping our nation’s students out of the classroom for a year is permanently injuring the educational aspirations and opportunities of an entire generation… The children most negatively impacted are those who are growing up poor, just like I did.  While teacher unions and their allies continue to change the rules as we go, we must be clear: if you have been vaccinated, it’s time to get back into the classroom.” (Sen. Tim Scott, Press Release, 2/04/2021)

Medical Experts: ‘There Is Increasing Data To Suggest That Schools Can Safely Reopen,’ ‘It’s Less Likely For A Child To Get Infected In The School Setting’

MSNBC’s WILLIE GEIST: “I want to ask you about schools. There’s a growing frustration, as you know, in this country, among parents, among educators, that it’s been almost a year and some children have not been yet back to school, in that entire time. The CDC researchers put out some research this week that suggests that it is safe to have schools open, as long as we continue masking and social distancing … broadly speaking, should schools be open?”
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health: “You know, I would back the CDC recommendations, because that is really based on data. We didn’t really appreciate that early on, but the fact is that when you look at a community and look at the penetrance of the virus in the community and its spread at the community level compared to the school in that community, it’s less likely for a child to get infected in the school setting than if they were just in the community. So for that reason … we need to try and get the children back to school …” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe, 1/28/2021)

CDC DIRECTOR DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: “I also want to be clear that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely…. I would also say … that vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.” (White House Press Briefing, 2/03/2021)

DR. DAVID RUBIN, A Pediatrician And Infectious Disease Expert At The University Of Pennsylvania: “I think there’s a pretty good base of evidence now that schools can open safely in the presence of strong safety plans, and even at higher levels of case incidence than we had suspected.” (“Schoolchildren Seem Unlikely To Fuel Coronavirus Surges, Scientists Say,” The New York Times, 10/22/2020)


Democrats Approve Handing Money To States Under Investigation For Failing To Protect Nursing Home Residents

All 50 Senate Democrats voted to allow additional funding going to states under investigation for underreporting deaths in nursing homes from coronavirus. (S.Amdt. 53, S Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #15: Amendment Rejected 50-50: D 0-48; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “It makes no sense to offer more funding to states that have mismanaged and then covered up their pandemic response… Leaders that neglected their responsibility to protect our elderly populations amid this devastating pandemic must be held accountable. The life-and-death implications of this dereliction of duty have caused tragedy for countless families whose loved ones died in long-term care facilities. They deserve answers.” (Sen. Scott, Press Release, 02/04/2021)


Democrats Yet Again Refuse To Take Action Against Sanctuary Cities

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against withholding federal funding from sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with enforcing immigration laws. (S.Amdt. 553, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #20: Rejected 50-50: D 0-48; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): “[T]his amendment would allow withholding of community development block grants and Economic Development Act funding from States and municipalities that prohibit local police from cooperating with Federal officials to enforce Federal law. It is important to note it would not affect any security-related funds. It is important because sanctuary cities, like San Francisco and Philadelphia, in my State, have radical policies that actually forbid the local police from cooperating with Federal immigration officials, even when the local police would like to cooperate. These policies are dangerous. They cost us time and money. But most importantly, by far, is the tragic cost to human beings, people like Kate Steinle, killed by an illegal immigrant who opened fire on a San Francisco pier. This shooter had been convicted of seven felonies, been deported five times. Why was he on the pier that night? Because San Francisco chose to release him rather than cooperate with Federal authorities that wanted to take him off the streets.” (Sen. Toomey, Congressional Record, S.437, 2/04/2021)


Democrats Vote In Favor Of A Tax Break For Wealthy Residents Of High-Tax States

All 50 Senate Democrats voted to preserve their ability to eliminate the cap on the state and local tax deduction, which would be a boon for wealthy taxpayers. (S.Amdt. 91, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #29: Motion Rejected 49-51: D 0-48; R 49-1; I 0-2, 2/04/2021)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “At a time when the federal government is spending trillions of dollars to restart the economy, it makes absolutely no sense to give six figure tax cuts to the highest earners in high-tax states, especially as those very states are coming to Congress with their hand out. Taxpayers in fiscally responsible states like Iowa would be left picking up the tab for the wealthiest New Yorkers and Californians.” (Sen. Grassley, Press Release, 2/05/2021)

SEN. STEVE DAINES (R-MT): “Senate Democrats voted to continue their effort to give the wealthiest Americans a big tax cut. Repealing the SALT cap has nothing to do with the pandemic, and would incentivize state/local governments to INCREASE their taxes.” (Sen. Daines, @SteveDaines, Twitter, 2/04/2021)

FLASHBACK: Democrats Spent Months Holding Up COVID Relief As They Insisted Any Bill Include Their Tax Cut For Wealthy Residents Of High-Tax States

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, has made a priority of rolling back the SALT deduction cap, which was included in the Republican-passed tax bill that former President Donald Trump signed in late 2017. That legislation capped federal deductions for state and local taxes to $10,000, or $5,000 each for married couples filing separately. Pelosi has cited repealing the cap as a possible way to provide relief to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has also sought to restore SALT deductions.” (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/02/2021)

“As lawmakers prepare for another round of fiscal stimulus to address economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the next package include a retroactive rollback of a tax change that hurt high earners in states like New York and California.” (“Pelosi Floats New Stimulus Plan: Rolling Back SALT Cap,” The New York Times, 3/30/2020)

  • “In an interview with The New York Times, Ms. Pelosi said the next phase of an economic rescue package should include additional measures to get more money directly to individuals — like the $1,200 direct payments for low- and middle-income taxpayers that were authorized in the $2 trillion bill that President Trump signed on Friday. That could be achieved, she said, by having Congress ‘retroactively undo SALT,’ a reference to a cap on the state and local tax deduction that Republicans included in their 2017 tax overhaul. That limit prevents households from deducting more than $10,000 a year in state and local tax expenses from their federal tax bills.” (“Pelosi Floats New Stimulus Plan: Rolling Back SALT Cap,” The New York Times, 3/30/2020)

Q: “I understand you’re pushing for a repeal of the SALT caps in this--in this package. Can you tell me why that’s pertinent and…”
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Well, it’s not just on pushing it. There is a two-year repeal in the HEROES Bill and I believe it should stay in.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 8/04/2020)


Democrats Won’t Rule Out Packing The Supreme Court

All 50 Senate Democrats voted to leaving open an avenue for them to potentially pack the Supreme Court. (S.Amdt. 66, S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #36: Motion Rejected 50-50: D 0-48; R 50-0; I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): “[L]ast year in certain fringe quarters of the Democratic Party, it seemed popular to call for packing the Supreme Court--for expanding the number of justices on the court… Now, obviously all Republicans opposed such a radical idea.… I offer a simple amendment, an amendment that is backed by famous liberals … that we should not pack the Supreme Court. ... So I would invite my Democratic colleagues who have said they don’t want to pack the court to simply waive this point of order and let’s have an up-or-down vote on one of the most fundamental tenets of the rule of law--that you do not pack the Court because you don’t like the way they rule.” (Sen. Cotton, Congressional Record, S.448, 2/04/2021)


Democrats Vote To Allow Tax Rates To Increase On Middle Class Americans By Refusing To Make The 2017 Tax Cuts Permanent

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against permanently extending the 2017 tax cuts for individuals and small businesses. (S.Amdt. 55 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #45: Rejected 50-50, D 0-48, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID): “[T]his amendment simply makes permanent the individual and small business tax rate reductions and reforms from the TCJA. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the TCJA, gave American workers and families more cash in their pockets by significantly lowering individual tax rates, nearly doubling the standard deduction, and doubling the child tax credit. For American businesses, the TCJA lowered the tax rate and provided parity for small businesses operating in passthrough form. It also encouraged investment in the United States through the immediate expensing of property and equipment. From the beginning of the previous administration up to the beginning of the pandemic early last year, the economy added more than 7 million jobs. Every U.S. metropolitan area had enjoyed income gains in 2018. Low-income workers were experiencing the highest wage growth in nearly a decade. We need to give our economy its best shot at recovering to prepandemic levels. This means strengthening that pro-growth policy we have put into place by making permanent these expiring tax provisions from the TCJA.” (Sen. Crapo, Congressional Record, S454, 2/04/2021)


Democrats Vote To Allow Stimulus Checks For Prisoners

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against prohibiting sending stimulus checks to prisoners. (S.Amdt. 483 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #37: Motion rejected 50-50, D 0-48, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): “I rise in support of my amendment which would prevent taxpayer dollars from going toward economic impact payments for prisoners. You may not realize it, but the first $1,200 checks we sent went to every inmate in the United States. … When my constituents hear about that, they think it is a total example about how Congress is incontinent in spending money. Now, prisoners do not contribute to the tax base. Taxpayers are already paying the entirety of their care, and they cannot reasonably stimulate the economy, and still they are eligible for stimulus checks. I argue that all spending on COVID relief must be targeted toward real needs. This is a perfect example of untargeted, inappropriate spending. I ask that my colleagues support this commonsense amendment.” (Sen. Cassidy, Congressional Record, S449, 2/04/2021)


Democrats Refuse To Protect Americans From Significant Increases In Energy Costs Via A Federal Carbon Tax

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against prohibiting a federal carbon tax. (S.Amdt. 887 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #46: Rejected 50-50, D 0-48, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R-ND): “[T]his amendment ensures that we don’t implement a carbon tax... Simply put, a carbon tax is a national energy tax, and it is a regressive tax. Raising the cost of energy through a tax or fee hits hard-working families the most, making it more expensive to heat their homes, drive to work, and put food on the table. In addition to keeping the lights on, every sector of our economy depends on access to affordable and reliable supplies of energy. A carbon tax increases the cost on our manufacturers, exporting American jobs abroad to other countries with fewer environmental regulations, meaning global emissions would actually increase. Instead of pushing new taxes, we must, instead, focus on innovation and making emerging technologies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage, or CCUS, commercially viable.” (Sen. Hoeven, Congressional Record, S455, 02/04/2021)

Democrats Fail To Support Basic Protections For Freedom Of Religion

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against prohibiting infringement on the free exercise of religion. (S.Amdt. 821 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #34: Rejected 50-50, D 0-48, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): “[T]he right to live by faith--any faith of our choosing or no faith at all, if we choose--is part of what defines us and allows us to live out our lives in dignity and respect. It is also what makes for a well-ordered society. It provides relief for those who are suffering. Members of our communities, citizens of our country, were able to live out their lives with religious freedom prior to the pandemic. With the pandemic and the corresponding growth of government, we have seen some of those rights threatened and infringed. I introduce this amendment for the simple purpose of making sure that we, as the Senate, have the ability to protect the religious freedom of all Americans, even when--especially when--government is growing as a result of a crisis. I urge each of my colleagues to support this and, with it, freedom of religion.” (Sen. Lee, Congressional Record, S447, 2/04/2021)


Democrats Vote Down Funding For Border Security And Immigration Enforcement

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against funding border security and ensuring the enforcement of all immigration laws. (S.Amdt. 872 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #42: Rejected 50-50, D 0-48, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): “President Biden’s proposed plan of open borders and amnesty isn’t about practical reforms; it is a radical and dangerous subversion of law and order with no effort to secure the border. ... I am from the great State of Florida. We love immigration in Florida, but it has to be legal. We have to give law enforcement and Border Patrol the resources they need to do their job, protect American families, and stem the tide of the rampant and unyielding illegal immigration we have seen for decades at the southern border. This amendment ensures that all applicable U.S. Government agencies enforce all immigration laws and provides $20 billion for border security. I ask everyone to support this amendment.” (Sen. Rick Scott, Congressional Record, S452, 2/04/2021)


Democrats Vote To Allow ‘Chaos On The Border’ By Refusing To Support The ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against ensuring the enforcement of the Trump Administration’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. (S.Amdt. 651 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #51: Rejected 50-50, D 0-48, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/05/2021)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): “[S]tarting 7 days ago, if you arrived at the border of the United States with children, you were allowed to stay in the country on a notice to appear. I have tremendous compassion for the extraordinary challenges and horrifying conditions in which people live in the Western Hemisphere and Central America and the like. There is nothing compassionate about this policy. … [T]hese evil traffickers who take money from these people, who push them through the jungles, who abuse them, who sometimes kill them and do horrifying things, are now out there marketing this. They are going around telling people throughout the Western Hemisphere: You can now get into the United States and come with children because, if you do, they are going to give you a little piece of paper, and they are going to let you go on a Greyhound bus anywhere you want in the country, and you never have to show up again. This is going to create chaos on the border, and it is inhumane to lure people to this country with a policy that is encouraging these traffickers to go out and do this to them.” (Sen. Rubio, Congressional Record, S459, 2/04/2021)



Related Issues: Energy, Small Business, Jobs, Tax Reform, Law Enforcement, Immigration, COVID-19, Health Care, Senate Democrats, WOTUS, Keystone XL Pipeline, Defending Life, Taxes, Budget, Supreme Court