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GOP amendments to budget confront Senate Democrats with tough votes on controversial issues

Issues voted on included energy development on federal lands, defunding the police, illegal immigrants with criminal records, and federal funding for abortion.

Published: August 11, 2021 8:09pm

Updated: August 12, 2021 12:10pm

With an eye to the 2022 midterm elections, Senate Republicans confronted Democrats with a series of politically tough votes on a number of controversial issues through amendments to the filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan.

The amendment process ended with passage of the Democrats' reconciliation framework in a 50-49 vote around 3:50 a.m. Wednesday. 

Below follows a selection of amendments Republicans proposed on a range of politically sensitive issues, including energy development on federal lands, defunding the police, illegal immigrants with criminal records, and federal funding for abortion:

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.) introduced an amendment in response to rising gas prices and to reduce energy dependence on OPEC. The intent of the amendment was to "cancel the Biden Administration's ban on oil and gas leasing on Federal land to help lower gasoline prices and reduce energy dependence on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries."

It was rejected by every Democratic senator, including the two independent senators who caucus with the Democrats. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.C.) missed the voting due to caring for his wife who has cancer.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) proposed an amendment to "prohibit enactment of the Green New Deal" that passed 99-0.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed an amendment to "prevent changes to the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction that mainly benefit the wealthy," which was rejected 51-48. Every Democrat as well as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against it.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) introduced an amendment to "establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to decreasing Federal funding for local jurisdictions that defund the police," which passed 99-0.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) proposed an amendment to "means-test electric vehicle tax credits to ensure high-income individuals do not get government subsidies to buy expensive luxury cars." It passed 51-48, with all Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) as well as Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) voting yes.

An amendment introduced by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) aimed at preventing "tax increases that would violate President Biden's repeated promise to not impose a single penny in tax increases on people making less than $400,000 per year" passed 98-1.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) proposed an amendment "to prevent reconciliation legislation from including trillions of dollars in job-killing tax hikes," and it was rejected 50-49, with every Democrat voting against.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) proposed an amendment to "establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory in prekindergarten programs and elementary and secondary schools." It was adopted 50-49 with a yes vote from Manchin in addition to all Republicans.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced an amendment "to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to hiring 100,000 new police officers nationwide to combat the crime wave in the United States" was agreed to 95-3.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced an amendment to "establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to improving health care by establishing penalties for providers performing elective abortions when the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater." It was rejected by all Democrats and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in a 51-48 vote.

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) proposed an amendment "to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to providing sufficient resources to detain and deport a higher number of illegal aliens who have been convicted of a crime." It was agreed to 53-46 with the support of four Democrats: Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Kelly.

Grassley proposed an amendment to "establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting illegal aliens with criminal records from receiving conditional or lawful permanent resident status in the United States." It was rejected by all 50 Democrats.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment "to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to abortion funding" as a way to maintain the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the federal funding of abortion. It passed 50-49 with yes votes from every GOP senator present and Manchin.

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