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COVID Relief Package Starts with “Vote-a-Rama”

Congress is working to advance President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, which Democrats want to move quickly, so that the legislation is enacted before unemployment benefits expire on Mar. 14. To fast-track the legislation, congressional leadership is using what is known as the “reconciliation process.” This allows them to advance the legislation with a simple majority vote. To start this process, a “vote-a-rama” occurred in the Senate on Feb. 4, a procedure in which an unlimited number of amendments are considered. In this case, none of the amendments hold the force of law, but they are used to give each party the opportunity to force the opposing party’s members to take votes on politically sensitive issues.

When a vote-a-rama happens, NATCA staff analyze all proposed amendments to identify any that could be problematic for NATCA and our membership and works with House and Senate leadership and allies on both sides of the aisle to avoid any harmful amendments. The vote-a-rama lasted for 14 hours and over 800 amendments were offered. NATCA staff ensured that none of the amendments were harmful to NATCA.

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