September 27, 2022

Progressive senators have said they will vote against any changes to the Democrats’ proposed climate and health care legislation ahead of a marathon series of votes before the bill passes.

The remarks come ahead of a Senate vote on a proposal to advance the so-called Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a process called budget reconciliation, which would allow them to pass it with simple majority and avoid a Republican filibuster.

As part of the budget deal, the Senate will hold a “roll-a-rama,” where Senators vote on successive amendments at a rapid pace that usually takes no more than ten minutes per amendment.

On Saturday morning, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, one of the most outspoken advocates for fighting climate change, said he would oppose any amendments, including those he supports.

“We have a lot more to do to meet our climate and justice commitments, but after a year-long struggle, we have an agreement that has 50 votes and makes historic investments,” he said. “This weekend, I will vote accordingly to protect this deal, which means I will vote no on amendments, even those I support.”

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii echoed the sentiment in another tweet.

“We have an agreement to take the largest climate action in US history. Every member of the Senate has agreed to this. I can think of many ways to strengthen it, but I will not derail this bill by advocating changes. I will vote NO on all amendments – even things I like. Let’s finish the job.”

Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, one of the most prominent negotiators on the climate aspects of the legislation, echoed the sentiment, saying she would oppose the amendments she supports.

“This bill makes historic progress on climate action and reducing prescription drug costs. It has 50 votes and we have to stick together to keep it that way,” he said.

Sen. Alex Padilla of California agreed with his peers, saying, “Let’s stand together and get this historic bill done.”

Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders gave a speech on the Senate floor calling for the legislation to be amended.

“Now is the time for every member of the Senate to thoroughly study this bill and submit amendments and suggestions on how we can improve it,” he said. But the united Democratic front suggests the Vermont Independent may be isolated.

The united front comes as Senate Rep. Elizabeth MacDonough released advice on various parts of the inflation-reduction law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday that Ms. McDonough had allowed provisions that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

“Democrats received extremely good news: for the first time, Medicare will finally be able to negotiate prescription drug prices, seniors will have free vaccines and their costs capped, and more,” he said in a statement. “This is a great victory for the American people. While there was an unfortunate decision that the inflation discount is more limited in scope, the overall program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally taking on Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”

Additionally, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Tom Carper of Delaware said Ms. McDonagh said provisions of the climate equity legislation passed the House floor.

“I am particularly pleased that the methane reduction program, environmental justice block grants and climate bank provisions have been approved,” he said in a statement.

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