Top Republican senators including Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are hailing the Senate parliamentarian’s rejection of the Democrats’ “massive amnesty” proposal to include a pathway for millions of immigrants to become US citizens, included in their $3.5 trillion spending plan.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who is a nonpartisan interpreter of its rules, issued a crushing blow to the Democrats’ immigration push after saying late Sunday they couldn’t include immigration provisions in their $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” package.
Several Democrats were disheartened by the decision, but say they have already prepared an alternative proposal for consideration.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was glad the Democrats failed in their bid to “shove massive amnesty” into their spending spree, saying it showed how “radical” their agenda had become.
“Senate rules never contemplated a majority circumventing the filibuster by pretending that sweeping and transformational new policies were mere budgetary changes,” he said in a statement.
“Democratic leaders refused to resist their progressive base and stand up for the rule of law, even though our border has never been less secure. After decades of failing to enact their amnesty agenda, Democrats tried this latest unprecedented gambit. It was inappropriate and I’m glad it failed.”
Graham (R-SC) echoed McConnell’s sentiments, saying it would have been a “terrible idea” to grant legal status to immigrants before the US border was secured.
“I’m very glad to hear that the Parliamentarian provided guidance to the Senate that granting legal status to illegal immigrants is not a proper use of the reconciliation process,” Graham tweeted.
“Having worked on several comprehensive immigration reform bills, I believe using the reconciliation process to provide legal status to illegal immigrants would be a disaster. It would have led to an increased run on the border – beyond the chaos we already have there today.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed to pursue alternate proposals.
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision by the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues,” he said in a statement.
“Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days.”
Squad member, Rep. Ilhan Omar, called on Schumer to ignore the decision.
“This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation. @SenSchumer and the @WhiteHouse can and should ignore it. We can’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to do the right thing,” she tweeted.
The Senate’s parliamentarian released a three-page memo to senators late Sunday saying the immigration proposal’s budget impact was outweighed by the policy impact it would have.
The language blocked by MacDonough would have given “Dreamers” — illegal immigrants brought into the country as minors — a chance at becoming citizens.
It also would have opened a doorway for citizenship for immigrants with Temporary Protected Status who’ve fled countries stricken by natural disasters or extreme violence; essential workers; and farmworkers.
Language in legislation that’s presented under a special process that blocks a filibuster attempt should be removed if its budget impact is “merely incidental” to the provision’s overall policies, according to Senate rules.