(03/22/13) - As lawmakers in Washington continue to debate a budget, we're seeing a phenomenon in the Senate known as "vote-a-rama."
Vote-a-rama is rare because the last time the Senate introduced a budget was four years ago. And according to Politico, a third of the current Senate wasn't in office in 2009, so this will be the first time many of them are experiencing it.
During a vote-a-rama, senators of either party can offer unlimited amendments to the budget resolution. The process can last many hours, and has been described as "chaotic" and "hectic."
As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Patty Murray of Washington will facilitate the vote-a-rama. Last week, Murray released a budget Republicans criticized as unbalanced, so many will want to have a say during the negotiations.
Senator Debbie Stabenow has been through a vote-a-rama before.
"It's a process in which any member can offer an amendment. They don't have to give notice ahead of time. And we have to vote or dispose of every single amendment that's introduced. It could be hundreds, so it's a long process," she said.
Sen. Stabenow is introducing a few amendments of her own - including one that would reject making Medicare a voucher system. Another one would reward companies with tax credits for moving jobs back to the U.S. from overseas.
The Senate rejected Paul Ryan's House budget Thursday night. If lawmakers don't pass a budget, they won't get paid.
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