Politics Senate parliamentarian rules against amnesty in Democrats' reconciliation bill
Democrats present case to legalize immigrants through budget bill
The legalization plan would benefit undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, farmworkers, Temporary Protected Status holders and essential workers.Democratic staff were expected to meet with the Senate parliamentarian on Friday to convince her that the massive legalization program can be enacted through the budget reconciliation process, a procedure that allows spending bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority, four congressional officials told CBS News. Republican staff were expected to argue against the proposal.
The Senate parliamentarian has issued a ruling saying that provisions giving an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants and non-citizens legal permanent resident status and a pathway to citizenship could not be included in Democrats’ go-it-alone “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation legislation.
In heron Sunday, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who previously for the Department of Justice handling immigration cases, said that “the policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation.”
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Democrats are utilizing the budget reconciliation process to try to push through a planned $3.5 trillion worth of social and environmental programs. The process allows them to bypasses the need to gain support from at least 10 Senate Republicans due to filibuster rules.
But bills in that process are not allowed to concern measures “extraneous” to the budget.
“Changing the law to clear the way to [legal permanent resident] status is tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact,” MacDonough said.
The decision is a major blow to Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to hold additional meetings with the parliamentarian to discuss alternative proposals to address the issue.
Democrats Dealt a Blow on Immigration Plans
WASHINGTON — The Senate parliamentarian dealt a major setback on Sunday to Democrats’ plan to use their $3.5 trillion social policy bill to create a path to citizenship for an estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants. WASHINGTON — The Senate parliamentarian dealt a major setback on Sunday to Democrats’ plan to use their $3.5 trillion social policy bill to create a path to citizenship for an estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants.
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues,” Schumer said in a statement.
Democrats had not finalized text for the amnesty provisions, but wording considered by the House Judiciary Committee last week would give a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Temporary Protected Status holders, and illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrated the decision in a statement Sunday.
“Senate rules never contemplated a majority circumventing the filibuster by pretending that sweeping and transformational new policies were mere budgetary changes,” McConnell said. “Democrats will not be able to stuff their most radical amnesty proposals into the reckless taxing and spending spree they are assembling behind closed doors. This just illustrates how radical Democrats’ aspirations are and how unmoored their far-left wish list has become from the procedures they want to use to ram it through.”
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The parliamentarian advised that a provision to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants can't be included in budget reconciliation.Elizabeth MacDonough said Sunday that the immigration provision couldn't be included in the party's sprawling $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which will be shielded from Republican filibusters.
This is not the first time a Democratic attempt to pass major policy changes with their slim majority of 50 votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris through the reconciliation process has failed.
Earlier this year, the Senate parliamentarianfrom adding a $15-an-hour minimum wage provision to a COVID-19 spending bill that also went through the reconciliation process.
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