The byzantine ritual that sits between the GOP and health care reform

Sleep well, wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of snacks. That’s the advice floating around the north end of the U.S. Capitol as the Senate prepares to embark on one of its most unique, byzantine — and useless, depending on whom you ask — traditions.

The ritual of “vote-a-rama” (yes, that’s an official term) is what stands between Republican senators and their long-sought goal to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s expected to begin sometime on Thursday.

Senators must endure dozens of policy amendments in rapid-fire succession stretching late into the night, a marathon procedure former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg once described as “the Senate’s equivalent to Chinese water torture.”

Only after the Democrats tire themselves out do Republican leaders get the opportunity to tee up a final vote on some sort of health care proposal, although the end game remains extraordinarily fuzzy at this point.

Why endure upwards of 12 hours of legislative abuse?

Read the whole story on myAJC: What the heck is a vote-a-rama?

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...