“You’re spending money like drunken sailors,” declared Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Budget Committee. “You’re putting in motion, I think, the demise of America as we know it. You’re putting in motion a government that nobody’s grandchild can ever afford to pay.”
The proposed changes, many of which were shot down along party lines, were nonbinding and intended more to burnish a political case against the most vulnerable Democratic senators facing re-election in 2022 than to become law. Some Republicans said the brunt of their proposals would wait until the subsequent legislation was finished, when changes could actually be adopted.
“The next vote-a-rama is the one that really matters, because then you’re firing with live ammo,” said Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania. “So I’m much more interested in that one than this one.”
The hourslong stretch began with a vote that would prohibit funding or regulations to establish the Green New Deal, with Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, declaring that any such provision “will reduce the quality of life for American people — millions and millions of Americans will suffer.”
“I have no problem voting for this amendment, because it has nothing to do with the Green New Deal,” Mr. Sanders shot back. The amendment passed unanimously, with the legislation’s Democratic sponsors dismissing it as “a tired and failed Republican attempt to throw speed bumps on the road to climate action.”
Democrats worked to remain in lock step to ward off many of the Republican proposals, including a provision from Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, that would prevent changes to the cap on how much taxpayers can deduct in state and local taxes. Democrats from high-tax states, particularly New York, New Jersey and California, have made raising or repealing the cap a priority, and a partial repeal is under discussion to be included in the final legislation.