The procedural trick that shrinks the vote hurdle from 60 to 51 is often described as “a powerful budget tool.” But reconciliation is also painful to wield. The first agonizing step: enduring a barrage of amendments from Republicans, who have promised to inflict maximal political pain on Democrats during an unbridled evening of “vote-a-rama” on Thursday.
Democrats, for their part, just want to get it over with. Urging the American public not to watch the bruising legislative “fight” that could keep senators voting late into the night, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) bemoaned the free-for-all amendment process as “the worst part of the United States Senate.”
“We need to remember what this is all about. This is not about a goofy 10-hour or 12-hour or 15-hour process where we stack amendments and try to set each other up, that we’ll somehow trick someone into taking a bad position that can be turned into a campaign advertisement,” Schatz said on the Senate floor. “It is nonsense, and everybody should ignore it if they can. Do anything to not watch vote-a-rama.”