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Senate facing series of politically tough votes amid Covid relief push

March 5, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 25.2%. 2 min read.

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The Senate is bracing for a series of politically tough amendment votes Friday that could stretch late into the night and into the early hours of Saturday, the last major hurdle senators face before voting on President Joe Biden's sweeping pandemic relief bill, even as lawmakers are still planning to make changes to the legislation.

(CNN)The Senate is bracing for a series of politically tough amendment votes Friday that could stretch late into the night and into the early hours of Saturday, the last major hurdle senators face before voting on President Joe Biden's sweeping pandemic relief bill, even as lawmakers are still planning to make changes to the legislation.

The long series of amendment votes, known as a vote-a-rama, is a Senate tradition that the minority party uses to put members of the majority on the record on controversial issues in an effort to make changes to a bill that they oppose.

Friday's amendment votes are a major test of Democratic unity at a time when Senate Democratic leaders have no margin of error given the 50-50 partisan split of the chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote.

But they split over the first vote Friday to raise the minimum wage to $15 a hour, an amendment introduced by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

However, following the conclusion of the bill's reading around 2 a. m. ET Friday, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland rose to ask for a unanimous agreement that the Senate come back at 9 a. m. ET and when they did, only three hours of debate be had before they moved to the vote-a-rama.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, criticized Republican tactics to slow down the process on Thursday, saying that forcing the full reading of the bill "will merely delay the inevitable" and vowing that "no matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week. "

by summa-bot

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