Senate 'vote-a-rama' continues as Democrats eye finish line for sweeping climate and health care bill

Senate ‘vote-a-rama’ continues as Democrats eye finish line for sweeping climate and health care bill

The amendment process, known on Capitol Hill as a “vote-a-rama,” started Saturday night shortly after 11:30 pm ET. A final vote on the bill will take place when amendment votes end, the timing of which it is not yet clear.

The package is the product of painstaking negotiations and will give Democrats a chance to achieve major policy objectives ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Once the legislation has passed in the Senate, it would next need to be approved by the House of Representatives before President Joe Biden could sign it into law. The House is poised to come back to take up the legislation this Friday, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office.

Senate Democrats only need a simple majority for the final passage of the bill since they are using a process known as reconciliation, which allows them to avoid a Republican filibuster and corresponding 60-vote threshold.

In order to pass a bill through the reconciliation process, however, the package must comply with a strict set of budget rules. And Republicans are using the vote-a-rama to put Democrats on the spot and force politically tough votes.

As expected, key insulin provisions were struck out of the bill after Republicans raised a point of order, resulting in a vote to strip them out.

The final vote was 57-43. A 60-vote threshold was needed to keep the provision in place.

The provisions initially included in the bill would have limited insulin prices to $35 per month in both the private insurance market as well as through Medicare. But the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the cap on insulin in the private insurance market was not compliant with the reconciliation rules Democrats are utilizing to push their legislation through the chamber.

Democrats kept both provisions in the bill anyway, but Republicans raised a point of order to force a vote to strike the provisions only from the private marketplace. The Medicare $35 insulin cap remains in place.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats were looking at making some late changes to the tax provisions in the bill before the chamber’s expected vote on the package Sunday afternoon, according to West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. It’s unclear exactly what is being discussed or how significant the changes would be. Manchin suggested Democrats may offer an amendment on the floor to reflect these changes.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.