What is vote-a-rama?
- US Senate Democrats pushed their energy and health-care measure
- This was despite a procedural snag known in Washington as a vote-a-rama
- Here is what vote-a-rama is
The time-consuming and exhausting process, as well as the Senate parliamentarian's evaluation of the package, were among the final roadblocks for Democrats.
A vote-a-rama provided Republicans with an opportunity to foment strife and create distractions in order to push Democrats to vote on contentious matters. But now that it's gone, Democrats want to approve their package on a straight party-line vote, bypassing the filibuster's 60-vote requirement.
What is it
During the legislative process, members can usually postpone voting on amendments by using a series of procedural tricks. But one can't do that under a budget reconciliation procedure, which Democrats are trying to move their measure.
A reconciliation bill cannot be finalised until all changes have been "disposed of," or, in simplest terms, "voted on."
The method entails voting on a series of changes that can – and frequently do – last hours.
How the process is used
The ruling party usually tries to get this vote-a-rama over with as soon as possible and with as few votes as feasible. The minority party uses the occasion to compel votes on a variety of initiatives that they do not normally have the authority to bring to the floor.
How long each vote takes
Typically, legislators agree to a method that looks something like this.
A legislator proposes an amendment (sometimes it is just written on a piece of paper).
Each side has a minute of argument, which is equally divided.
One has 10 minutes to vote.
Each adjustment takes roughly 15 minutes to complete. The procedure runs swiftly by Senate standards, which is why it is critical for members to be in or around the chamber for the duration of the marathon event.