The Senate parliamentarian dealt a blow to Democrats on Sunday, stating that under the chamber’s rules regarding reconciliation bills, an amnesty for millions of migrants in the U.S. illegally cannot be included in a massive $3.5 trillion spending package.
The Associated Press initially reported on the parliamentarian’s ruling, which was subsequently confirmed by Fox News.
“A preliminary ruling from Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, obtained by Fox, would bar Democrats from adding immigration provisions to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill,” Chad Pergram wrote.
“Democrats did not have firm legislative text nor a total price tag for the bill. So it’s hard to see how there is an absolute ruling on this,” Pergram added.
“But, budget reconciliation bills, which Democrats were using to avoid a filibuster, must be strictly fiscal in nature and can’t add to the deficit. It was believed that this push to add immigration to the bill was too policy driven,” he noted further.
“The reasons that people risk their lives to come to this country – to escape religious and political persecution, famine, war, unspeakable violence and lack of opportunity in their home countries –cannot be measured in federal dollars,” MacDonough wrote in justifying her decision.
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues. We will continue fighting to pursue the best path forward to grant them the ability to obtain lawful status,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Twitter in which he also posted a statement.
We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues.
We will continue fighting to pursue the best path forward to grant them the ability to obtain lawful status.
My statement: pic.twitter.com/5VZjx0D6JT
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 20, 2021
“This is a blow to Democrats and progressives who pushed to add immigration provisions to the bill. This will cause problems if Democrats have to slash the total size of the size of the legislation to mollify moderate Democrats,” Pergram noted further.
“It was thought that lopping immigration provisions into the bill could help placate liberals if Democrats have to trim the size of the legislation,” he wrote.
The Fox News congressional correspondent went on to write that MacDonough’s decision was based on a belief that including immigration as part of reconciliation “is further evidence that the policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation.”
“A big loss for Democrats in their push to legalize undocumented immigrants as part of the reconciliation [sic] bill. The Senate parliamentarian rejects the Dems’ arguments and says the ‘policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact,” CNN’s Manu Raju wrote on Twitter.
A big loss for Democrats in their push to legalize undocumented immigrants as part of the reconcilation bill. The Senate parliamentarian rejects the Dems’ arguments and says the “policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact” pic.twitter.com/DzCMMICAsh
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 20, 2021
One of the spending bill’s biggest Democratic critics, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said over the weekend that he wants Biden to wait on the legislation until next year, according to Axios.
“Manchin’s new timeline — if he insists on it — would disrupt the plans by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to vote on the budget reconciliation package this month,” Axios reported.
The report noted further that any delay from Manchin, who usually avoids signing on with the far-left-wing of the Democrat Party, could “imperil House passage of the separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Pelosi has promised to pass by Sept. 27.”
Added the Daily Wire: “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who has surprisingly been more moderate than most ever expected her to be, is also reportedly opposed to Biden’s massive bill, although she’s not as public about it.”