WASHINGTON, March 27, 2015 – The Senate approved its budget resolution along party lines early Friday after voting on dozens of non-binding amendments and setting aside hundreds of others.
The amendments that never received votes included proposals by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., calling for cuts in crop insurance subsidies and other measures dealing with a variety of environmental issues, including habitat protections for the gray wolf and sage grouse.The vote-a-rama on amendments allowed both parties to force the other to go on record on a number of other issues, including same-sex marriage benefits, but after a marathon voting session that lasted until after midnight leaders agreed to wrap up with six amendments and vote on the resolution itself.
The resolution, approved 52-46, will set spending limits for fiscal 2016 and lays out a 10-year plan for balancing the budget. The measure now must be reconciled with the House version, which was approved 228-199, on Thursday. GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky joined all the Democrats in voting against the Senate version.
During the vote-a-rama, the Senate voted in favor of killing the estate tax, 54-46, but the amendment won the support of just one Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, while losing the vote of Republican Susan Collins of Maine.
The Senate also approved, 56-43, an amendment by Mike Lee, R-Utah, calling for federal payments to local governments with federal lands, known as Payments in Lieu of Taxes, to be raised to match the tax revenue the governments are losing.
An amendment by Cory Gardner, R-Colo., endorsing the supremacy of state water law, was adopted, 59-41. The amendment was intended to protect farmers, ranchers and others that rely on privately held water rights and permits from federal takings.
Also approved, 52-42, was an amendment that sponsor Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said called on the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the "full economic impact" of preserving critical habitat for endangered species.