The Senate adjourned its session for the rest of the year, putting a hold on President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.
After a marathon overnight session where the Senate voted on 50 outstanding administrative and judicial nominees, the Senate adjourned early Saturday morning. The all night-session was part of a deal reached between Senate Democratic Leadership and Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz had previously blocked a vote on many of the Biden administrations nominees until leadership put up legislation Cruz authored that would put sanctions on Russia over the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, The Hill reported. The blockade threatened to drag out into next week, but the Senate struck the deal during the all-night Friday session.
The Senate will not do any work for the rest of the year, and no one will be present in the chamber, except for a provision in the Constitution that prohibits one House of Congress from adjourning for more than three days without the consent of the other House. As such, The Hill reported, only one Senator will be present to open and close several seconds-long sessions over Christmas. The Senate will re-open its session on January 3rd.
The Senate adjourning for the year also means putting President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion “Build Back Better” social spending package on hold, as well as several Democratic election overhaul bills. The Biden administration hopes to see those bills pass the Senate and advance to the President’s desk, but The Hill noted that Democrats haven’t set a timeline for taking up “Build Back Better” again. Moreover, the 2022 midterm cycle begins in earnest in the new year, which the Senate sees as an informal deadline to pass election bills. The bills would also have required a change in the rules of the Senate filibuster, a deal on which could not be reached before the end of the year.
Earlier this week, the Senate tabled “Build Back Better” because of unwavering opposition from moderate Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. The Daily Wire reported:
“[Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] is likely to push a vote on the Build Back Better plan until next year, according to four sources familiar with the leaders’ plans,” NBC News reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell said.
“He doesn’t have the votes as [Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)] remains noncommittal,” Caldwell continued. “Schumer is still holding out hope for action on voting rights this year, multiple sources tell us. They are hoping for agreement on a rules change between four moderates who have been meeting,” she added, referring to Manchin and Sens. Jon Tester (D-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME).
Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham declared that “Build Back Better” was “dead forever” Wednesday evening, as the Daily Wire reported. “I think Build Back Better is dead forever,” Graham said, adding, “and let me tell you why: Because Joe Manchin has said he’s not going to vote for a bill that will add to the deficit. Well, if you do away with the budget gimmicks, Build Back Better, according to the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] adds $3 trillion to the deficit. He doesn’t want to vote for a bill that makes inflation worse.”