Senate Republicans extracted victories from Democrats on critical race theory, immigration, and defunding the police during Tuesday’s late-night budget resolution fight.
As the Senate prepared to vote on the budget resolution, conservatives introduced many amendments to the $3.5 trillion resolution to have some conservative wins from the mammoth bill. The series of amendments votes is often referred to as a “vote-a-rama,” which often bleeds into the late night.
The amendments attached to the budget resolution are “non-binding” but often serve as important rhetorical wins for those who can attach their proposal to the budget, and in this case, force Democrats to take tough votes.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed an amendment to prevent Democrats’ raising of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction that mainly benefits wealthy blue states.
Grassley called Democrats hypocrites for proposing “tax cuts for the wealthy” and making the tax code less progressive. The Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put limitations on the SALT tax deduction to pay for the bill’s tax cuts.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) proposed an amendment, which passed unanimously, that would reduce or eliminate federal funding for any local government that defunds the police.
Tuberville said in a floor speech Wednesday, “The American taxpayers in Alabama [shouldn’t] have to pick up the tab for the local leaders in Oregon and Minnesota who value the woke ‘Defund the Police’ movement over their own community’s safety.”
Tuberville’s office noted that Democrats “pounced” at the chance to distance themselves from defunding the police.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) proposed an amendment that would prohibit the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning fracking. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bob Casey (R-PA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Angus King (I-ME), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT) voted for Cramer’s amendment.
Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Manchin, and Tester voted for an amendment preventing federal funding for fossil fuel-burning power plants.
Republicans also got Sinema, Kelly, and Manchin to vote for an amendment to means-test President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle tax credit. The current proposal allows for any American, regardless of income, to use the tax credit to purchase an electric vehicle.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) asked why the federal government should “subsidize” luxury electric vehicles.
Seventeen Senate Democrats voted for Sen. Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) amendment to stop permit requirements on farmers and ranchers and the “imposition of new Federal methane requirements on livestock.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) proposed an amendment to stop “renewable energy projects receiving federal funds and subsidies from purchasing materials, technology, and critical minerals produced in China.”
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) voted against the amendment.
The Senate passed Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) amendment that would ban federal funds from going to promote Critical Race Theory in schools. The amendment passed 50-49, with the support of Manchin.
Cotton said in a floor speech about his amendment:
Sadly, today some want to replace our Founding principles with an un-American ideology called Critical Race Theory. They want to teach our children that America is not a good nation but a racist nation. Those teachings are wrong and our tax dollars should not support them.
My amendment will ensure that federal funds aren’t being used to indoctrinate kids as young as Pre-K to hate America.
Our future depends on the next generation of kids loving America and loving each other as fellow citizens, no matter their race. I urge my colleagues to vote yes on the amendment.
The Senate passed an amendment proposed by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) that prohibits the transportation of migrants who have not received a negative coronavirus test. The measure passed with 88 votes in favor and 11 against. Republicans have said that migrants crossing the border without coronavirus testing could contribute to the recent surge in coronavirus across the country.
The Senate passed an amendment proposed by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) that would ensure that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has sufficient resources to detain and deport illegal aliens convicted of a criminal offense. The Senate adopted the amendment 53-46.
Sens. Kelly, Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NM), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) voted for the amendment.
Hagerty said on the Senate floor:
According to ICE’s website, 92 percent of the illegal aliens that ICE deports have been convicted of or charged with crimes. Yet, despite the border crisis and record border crossings, the Biden administration has drastically reduced deportations to roughly one-quarter what they were last fiscal year, reaching the lowest levels on record this spring—from over 28,000 in October 2019 to less than 3,000 in April 2021. That means the Administration is allowing thousands of criminal illegal aliens per month to remain in American communities and potentially commit more crimes.
“I ask for your support for enforcing our immigration laws and deterring illegal immigration and criminal activity by providing the resources necessary to remove criminal illegal aliens from our streets,” Hagerty said:
The Senate ultimately passed the $3.5 trillion Democrat budget resolution, which serves as the legislative vehicle for the Democrats’ “infrastructure” bill.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.