Democratic Lawmakers Sign onto Letter to Ignore Parliamentarian, Ram Through Immigration in Reconciliation

Posted: Nov 27, 2021 5:15 PM
Democratic Lawmakers Sign onto Letter to Ignore Parliamentarian, Ram Through Immigration in Reconciliation

Source: AP Photo/Mark Tenally

Earlier this month, the House voted to pass President Joe Biden's reconciliation spending bill, which now heads to the Senate. As Jordain Carney highlighted for The Hill on Saturday morning, however, it is expected to go through several changes.

Carney references Medicare expansion, inclusion of paid family leave, changes to the SALT deduction cap, potentially more cuts to climate change proposals, and immigration.

The only reason Democrats have a shot of passing this spending bill is because they are complying with the reconciliation process so that they will only need 50 votes for it to pass. 

One specific provision where the Senate parliamentarian has had to weigh in on is on the immigration issue. 

As Carney reported:

...Senate Democrats previously pitched the Senate parliamentarian on two plans that would provide permanent residency to millions of immigrants, but they were rejected for not complying with the rules for what can be included in legislation passed under reconciliation.

Still, House Democrats and some immigration groups are urging Senate Democrats to add the broader policy back into the legislation when it hits the Senate floor. Nearly half of the House Democratic Caucus signed on to a letter urging their counterparts to add a pathway to citizenship in the bill, arguing the “role of the Parliamentarian is an advisory one, and the Parliamentarian’s opinion is not binding.”

Senate Democrats don’t have the votes to formally overturn the parliamentarian, but advocates instead are urging them to put someone in the chair who would ignore the parliamentarian. Senate Democrats could also try to add the immigration language back into the bill as an amendment, but that would likely fall short.

Not surprisingly, House Democrats in question include squad members like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

The letter emphasizes that the current proposals are only forms of "temporary" relief.

Lest one think that the Democrats do not have radical tricks up their sleeves, the Biden administration, and not without much confusion, has indicated illegal immigrants who crossed the border during the Trump administration and were separated from family members may be awarded up to $450,000, each. 

Stephen Miller has been warning about the Democrats' immigration plans for some time now, too, especially as it applies to this bill. 

It's also worth mentioning that another change the bill is likely to go through, which Carney did not mention, is the Hyde Amendment, which protects taxpayers from having to fund elective abortions. The budget rider has passed every year with bipartisan support since 1976. Democrats cannot afford to lose any members and if they want support from Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate, pro-life Democrat from West Virginia, it will need to be included. It was purposefully left out of the House version. 

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