As Democrats aimed to move forward with their $1.9 trillion relief proposal, Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., proposed a nonbinding measure to withhold emergency pandemic-related funding from K-12 schools that did not reopen for in-person learning after teachers had been offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The children most negatively impacted are those who are growing up poor, just like I did,” Scott said in a statement. “While teacher unions and their allies continue to change the rules as we go, we must be clear: if you have been vaccinated, it’s time to get back into the classroom.”
The amendment was not agreed to, falling down partisan lines at an even 50-50 split.
The amendment was proposed during Thursday night’s vote-a-rama, when the chamber must vote on all measures brought forth by members before they can move forward with their budget resolution.
Once the budget resolution is approved, Democrats will have the tools they need to proceed with their COVID relief package plans without Republican support – assuming all members of the party are on board.
Approved budget resolutions are technically not laws, and therefore the amendments are also nonbinding and will have no effect on Democrats’ underlying relief proposal.
Consequently, amendments are typically proposed as a litmus test to gauge support for various proposals, or as a way for the minority party to force the majority party to go on the record on controversial topics, which can provide fodder for campaign attacks during subsequent election cycles.