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. Senate Democrats are using a special process to pass the package without Republican votes.
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.
What happens next
Republicans can use the “vote-a-rama” to put Democrats on the spot and force politically tough votes, and votes on contentious policy issues are expected.
Senators widely expect Republicans to try to kill insulin provisions included in Democrats’ climate and health care bill on the Senate floor during the “vote-a-rama”, which will also force the Senate parliamentarian in real time to rule on whether it’s in order to stay in the bill.
Those provisions would limit insulin prices to $35 in the private insurance market as well as through Medicare. According to a Democratic aide, the parliamentarian ruled that the cap on insulin in the private insurance market was not compliant with reconciliation. Democrats weren’t surprised by her ruling on the private market cap but are hoping the Medicare insulin cap stays in, according to the aide.
But either way, the aide said, Democrats will keep both insulin provisions in the bill as they proceed forward — daring the GOP to move and try to strike them on the Senate floor.
The House is poised to come back to take up the legislation on Friday, August 12, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office.
How Democrats plan to pass the sweeping legislation
In order to pass a bill through the reconciliation process, however, the package must comply with a strict set of budget rules.
The Senate parliamentarian has to decide whether the provisions in the bill meet the rules to allow Democrats to use the filibuster-proof budget process to pass the legislation along straight party lines.
Schumer announced Saturday that after undergoing the parliamentarian’s review, the bill “remains largely intact.”
“The bill, when passed, will meet all of our goals — fighting climate change, lowering health care costs, closing tax loopholes abused by the wealthy and reducing the deficit,” the New York Democrat said.
In a key ruling, the parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, allowed a major component of the Democrats’ prescription drug pricing plans to move ahead — giving Medicare the power to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs for the first time.
But MacDonough narrowed another provision aimed at lowering drug prices — imposing penalties on drug companies if they increase their prices faster than inflation. Democrats had wanted the…