- From the Political Dictionary:
U.S. Senate rules include a special section for consideration of the annual Budget resolution. The Budget is not subject to filibuster, but all amendments must be germane and are voted on consecutively without real debate.
During a vote-a-rama, each amendment is considered and voted on for about 10 minutes until they are finished with all amendments. It’s an exhausting process that many senators have said makes it impossible to know what is actually being considered.
Keith Hennessey: “The vote-a-rama is an unusual cultural institution within the Senate. All 100 Senators are on the floor, in the cloakrooms, or right outside the Senate Chamber for hours and hours upon end. Another 100-ish staff are packed onto tiny staff benches in the rear of the Chamber, one for Republican staff and another for Democratic staff. Everyone is usually exhausted during the vote-a-rama, which comes near the end of an arduous and usually conflict-ridden legislative battle.”
Here's a more exhaustive definition from the person who coined the term.
- Click here for it.
Here's a negative appraisal of the process
- Senate 'vote-a-rama': A charade with consequences: The late-night vote marathon is aimed mainly at making the other party look bad in elections.
Republicans will have to go on record against giving minimum-wage workers a raise and potentially vote against a plan meant to defend pregnant workers from discrimination. Democrats will take sides on Iran’s nuclear talks, with Republicans daring them to side against Israel.
And each party is trying to outdo the other on how much it loves Medicare.
The Senate’s famous budget “vote-a-rama” on Thursday won’t change any laws — far from it, it’s a daylong, only-in-Congress charade, the main purpose of which is to make the other party look bad and score political points.
And yet it has the potential to be among the most consequential days in Congress this year. Some of the roll calls are bound to show up in campaign ads and talking points and floor speeches: Just ask Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who was attacked by her GOP opponent, Scott Brown, two weeks before her 2014 reelection for voting to “pave the way” for a carbon tax, a vote that was more than 18 months old at the time.