Blue Skies Ahead?

Democrats’ climate and tax package is racing forward. Senate Democrats remain confident they can start in the Senate as soon as later this week, which could allow them to send it to the House by the weekend. The House is currently slated to return on August 15 to take up the bill.

Here’s what’s happening now and what comes next:

The Byrd Bath process:

  • Is ongoing on all sections of the bill, including health care.
  • The Senate parliamentarian is reportedly very far along on the process on many sections of the bill.
    • This is helped by the fact that she has previously seen, read and reviewed versions of many of the bill’s provisions.
  • Democrats currently expect the parliamentarian to finish all or most of her review later this week.
  • The Byrd Bath process could continue on the floor as members raise challenges to underlying language in the bill or to new language is offered on the floor.

Floor timing and process:

  • Senate Democrats currently expect to vote on a motion to proceed to the House-passed reconciliation by Friday. 
  • Democrats’ timing and pace of the floor process depends on Democrats being confident they have the votes locked down and all 50 Democratic senators being present and voting—something that has been difficult to achieve in recent months.

Floor amendment process:

  • Following up to 20 hours of debate, the “vote-a-rama” begins where any senator can offer and has a decent shot at getting a vote on his or her amendment.
  • Some amendments will require 60 votes and some only 50 or 51.  
  • Even though there is likely to be close to $300 billion in deficit reduction in the bill, amendments that are not deficit-neutral are likely to require 60 votes.