January 20, 2016
But more often, vote-a-rama becomes a modern-day gladiatorial arena, featuring amendments from both parties wholly designed to force vulnerable incumbents to take sides on controversial issues. War rooms are set up directly off of the floor, as the parties’ top budget experts try to make the case that the other side’s proposals are not germane. It’s an elaborate, exhausting process with one overarching objective — create explosive fodder for election-season campaign advertisements.
“While some of these are very important policy issues, many fall under message votes that can be used instantaneously by Senate campaigns across the country,” said Ron Bonjean, who served as spokesman for former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), and now runs his own public affairs firm.
You would think Senate Republicans, whose majority faces an unfavorable election map this year, would prefer to avoid a showdown so often used to put incumbents in a tight spot. And in fact they could opt to do just that. A budget agreement signed into law last fall included “deemed language” that allows Congress to dispense with a budget for this upcoming fiscal year.Read the Morning Consult article