Last Friday, the Senate voted on dozens of amendments to their budget resolution before eventually (narrowly) passing the budget itself. This frenzy of amendments, known as a “vote-a-rama”, gave many Senators a chance to force their colleagues onto the record on many key issues that have not come up for a vote in the Senate in years.
Among the most important (and revealing) votes were on Medicare reform, internet sales taxes, ObamaCare repeal, carbon taxes, and Senator Rand Paul’s budget plan.
- Balancing the Budget (Sessions Motion to Recommit) Roll Call 45 – This motion was to send the budget back to committee with orders to come back with a plan that actually achieved balance. The motion failed, 46-53. One Democrat (Manchin) joined all 45 Republicans in insisting on a balanced budget.
- Medicare Reform (Stabenow Amdt. 432) Roll Call 48 – To prevent Medicare from being reformed from a defined-benefits program to a voucher or premium-support system. The amendment passed 96-3; the only three to vote against were Sens. Lee, Paul, and Cruz.
- Full Repeal of ObamaCare (Cruz Amdt. 202) Roll Call 51 – To fully repeal ObamaCare. As expected, this amendment failed in a party-line vote, 45-54.
- Blocking a Carbon Tax (Blunt Amdt. 261) Roll Call 59 – To make passage of a carbon tax more difficult by establishing a point of order against it that would require 60 votes to bypass. Failed, 53-46, with 8 Democrats joining Republicans in rejecting a carbon tax.
- Internet Sales Tax (Enzi Amdt. 656 to Durbin Amdt. 578) Roll Call 62 – This was a proxy vote on the Marketplace Fairness act, which would allow states to collect internet sales taxes from citizens of other states. Sadly, only 24 Senators voted to disapprove of this destructive new tax scheme, and 25 Republicans voted in favor.
- School Choice (Alexander Amdt. 515) Roll Call 63 – This amendment would have allowed children in lower-income families to take their federal education dollars with them to a new school of their choice, effectively creating a school voucher program. The amendment failed, 39-60. Six Republicans voted against school choice (Blunt, Collins, Fischer, Kirk, Moran, Murkowski)
- Repealing the Death Tax (Thune Amdt. 307) Roll Call 67 – The first Senate vote in some time on a clean repeal of the death tax. All 45 Republicans were joined by one Democrat (Manchin) in supporting this amendment, which failed, 46-53.
- The Rand Paul Budget Plan (Paul Amdt. 263) Roll Call 69 – Senator Paul’s budget balances in five years, eliminates four Cabinet departments, replaces the current tax code with a flat tax, and fundamentally reforms all major entitlement programs. FreedomWorks has declared Paul’s budget to be the best in its class for three years running. This year, 18 Republicans voted yes – its best total yet (Barrasso, Coburn, Cornyn, Crapo, Cruz, Enzi, Flake, Inhofe, Johnson (WI), Lee, McConnell, Moran, Paul, Risch, Scott, Sessions, Shelby, Vitter).
- Federal Paycheck Protection (Scott Amdt. 597) Roll Call 75 – To prevent federal resources from being used to automatically deduct union dues from federal employees’ paychecks. All but two Republicans (Moran and Murkowski) voted for this workplace freedom amendment, while all Democrats voted against.
- Stop the War on Fossil Fuels (Inhofe Amdt. 359) Roll Call 76 – To prevent the EPA from implementing any further major regulations on greenhouse gasses in order to prevent a dramatic spike in energy prices. Three Democrats (Landrieu, Manchin, Pryor) joined 44 Republicans in supporting this amendment. One Republican (Collins) voted against.
Finally, at 4:30 AM, the Senate voted on the actual budget resolution containing the Senate Democrats’ plan to raise taxes by $1 trillion while never coming close to balancing the budget (in fact, the Senate budget actually increases spending during the first year). Four vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2014 (Baucus, Begich, Hagan, Pryor) joined every Republican in voting against this big-spending monstrosity, which passed 50-49. Roll Call 92