Senate parliamentarian rules against immigration in $2T Biden bill

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Senate parliamentarian rules against immigration in $2T Biden bill

The Senate parliamentarian ruled against Democrats’ plans to include provisions that would provide work permits and deportation protections for illegal immigrants in President Biden’s $2 trillion social spending bill.

The news is another blow to Democratic progressives, who have vehemently pushed for its inclusion in the stalled reconciliation bill, which allows them to bypass the filibuster and pass the measure with a simple majority in the Senate.

Senior staffers from both parties met with parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough earlier this month to lay out their cases on whether it should be allowed to be included in the measure.

Under current rules, “the Senate is prohibited from considering extraneous matter as part of a reconciliation bill,” with Democrats failing to convince the arbiter of Senate rules that the matter was more than “merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision.”

The Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough considered the immigration proposals as “extraneous matter.”
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

The immigration proposal was the third MacDonough has rejected as Democrats have looked for a path forward for the language to make it into the measure.

While its failure to pass the “Byrd bath” comes as a disappointment to progressives, some outside groups and House Democrats have tried to pack the bill with as much social programming as possible. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had aimed to hold a vote for President Biden’s social spending bill by the end of the year.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) earlier this year, more than two dozen Democrats in the lower chamber argued that the Senate’s presiding officer has the authority to overrule the arbiter. 

“This is a critical moment for our nation’s history, and we strongly urge the Presiding Officer to use their authority to disregard the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling,” they wrote in October.

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