Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough on Sept. 19 ruled that Democrats can’t include a provision aimed to give millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship in their $3.5 trillion spending measure.
MacDonough in her guidance said that the Democrats’ provision is “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy,” and that it doesn’t meet the stringent requirements of what can be included in the budget resolution.
“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” she wrote, referring to a parliamentary procedure that allows certain budget bills to pass through the deliberative upper chamber with only a simple majority, bypassing a likely filibuster by opponents.
First used by Congress in 1980, the process allows for expedited consideration of certain tax, spending, and debt-limit legislation. Ultimately, what’s allowed under this process is up to MacDonough, whose job it is to protect independent due process.
Earlier this month, Democrats proposed to include in their plan immigration reform measures that would grant amnesty to four groups of nearly 8 million illegal immigrants—former President Barack Obama’s “Dreamers,” temporary protected status (TPS) holders, agricultural laborers, and essential workers, among others.
“Dreamers” entered the United States illegally as children and were granted amnesty under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order.
In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats were “deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues.”
Schumer said that Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and hope to schedule additional meetings with MacDonough.
In a statement, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) described Democrats’ provision as “inappropriate” and “radical,” adding that he’s “glad it failed.”
“Senate rules never contemplated a majority circumventing the filibuster by pretending that sweeping and transformational new policies were mere budgetary changes. Tonight’s ruling confirms that principle,” he 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,” McConnell added. “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.”
White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Joseph Lord contributed to this report.