Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  6 days ago  •  12 comments

By:   Jordain Carney (TheHill)

Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards
Democrats' long-held hopes for providing a path to legal status for millions of immigrants is now in the hands of a little-known figure: The Senate parliamentarian.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Democrats' long-held hopes for providing a path to legal status for millions of immigrants is now in the hands of a little-known figure: The Senate parliamentarian. 

Democrats pitched Elizabeth MacDonough, a nonpartisan referee, Friday on their plan to provide permanent legal status, which paves the way for a path to citizenship, for 8 million immigrants, including Dreamers, temporary protected status holders, agricultural and other essential workers. 

After struggling for years to get a deal on immigration reform, and with  President Biden ’s sweeping comprehensive plan stalled on Capitol Hill, Democrats are ready to go it alone by including their smaller plan in a sweeping $3.5 trillion social spending bill they hope to pass as soon as this month. 

But first, they’ll need to convince MacDonough, a former immigration lawyer who has jettisoned key priorities for both parties in budget reconciliation measures in recent years. 

“You think about that all the time,” Sen.  Tim Kaine  (D-Va.) told The Hill about trying to figure out what will pass muster with the parliamentarian. 

Democratic staffers from the Senate Judiciary and Budget committees, as well as Senate leadership staffers, met with MacDonough to make their case that the immigration plan complies with the arcane rules that govern what can be included in the spending package. 

Democrats are using the budget reconciliation process to prevent the GOP from filibustering their measure in the Senate. The problem is that there are sharp limits on what can be included in such measures. 

The most well-known requirement Democrats will need to convince MacDonough of is that the immigration plan has an impact on federal spending and revenues and that its impact isn’t “merely incidental” to its non-budgetary goals. 

“We believe that passing this legislation through reconciliation is permissible because the bill’s budgetary effects are a substantial, direct and intended result and the non-budgetary effects do not so disproportionately outweigh the budgetary effects as to make them merely incidental,” a Democratic aide said. 

Democrats say their plan would increase budget deficits by $139.6 billion over a 10-year period, according to initial estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. 

The Senate plan is narrower than Biden’s pledge to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants. But Democratic staffers indicated that the narrower four categories gave them the strongest pitch for getting immigration reform into the spending package and complying with the budget rules. 

They also stressed that the bill doesn't directly address citizenship, noting they see it as a bill that provides a pathway to getting permanent legal status or a green card. Earning permanent legal status allows an individual, if they can meet a slew of requirements, to eventually apply for citizenship. 

GOP staffers also pitched MacDonough on Friday about why the Democratic plan doesn’t meet the requirements laid out for what can get included in the budget bill. They've been signaling for weeks that they would fight Democrats' plan to try to sidestep them on immigration. 

Sen.  John Cornyn  (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, argued that the Democrats’ plan “almost surely will not work, consistent with the rules of the Senate.” 

Cornyn has also pointed back to one of MacDonough’s predecessors, Alan Frumin,  who has warned  that while changes to immigration do likely impact the budget, those impacts could be argued to be “merely incidental” to the plan’s larger goal of immigration reform. 

There’s no guarantee MacDonough will greenlight the Democratic plan. She’s sparked frustration on both sides of the aisle with recent decisions. In 2017, she jettisoned a Senate GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and earlier this year she warned Democrats that boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour, a key priority for progressives, didn’t meet the rules for budget reconciliation.

If she rules against immigration reform, the provision could be stripped out of the bill unless Democrats can muster 60 votes, meaning the support of at least 10 GOP senators, to keep it in the bill.

MacDonough is part referee, responsible for deciding what complies with the Senate’s budget rules, and something of a Senate oracle, unknowable to reporters and largely leaving senators and staff to try to interpret which way she’s leaning by questions she asks. 

“It varies from oral argument to oral argument whether we do get any feedback. There have been some, where we do get a lot of questions and we can learn from that sort of like watching the Supreme Court when they have a lot of questions,” a second Democratic aide said about pitching MacDonough. 

Democrats are feeling hopeful that they will be able to get immigration reform into the $3.5 trillion spending plan, pointing back to 2005 when a plan to address a backlog of visas was included in a reconciliation bill. 

Democrats and aligned outside groups have been ramping up pressure to include immigration reform in the sweeping spending package. 

The Senate previously passed “comprehensive” immigration reform back in 2013, but it hit a wall in the then-GOP controlled House. 

Since then, the discussion around immigration on Capitol Hill has become more polarized with then- President Trump  demanding billions to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, supporting cuts to legal immigration and taking a hard line on asylum. Bipartisan discussions under Biden have failed to make much headway. 

Biden, who chaired the Judiciary Committee during his time in the Senate, has endorsed including immigration in the reconciliation bill but hinted that it “remains to be seen" if it’s allowed to stay in. 

Asked by The Hill before the summer break when he would start worrying about the parliamentarian, Sen.  Dick Durbin  (D-Ill.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, quipped: “I’ve already started.” 

And Speaker  Nancy Pelosi  (D-Calif.), during a recent virtual town hall, pledged that Democrats would “fight” for their immigration plan but acknowledged there are questions about what “will survive the parliamentarian in the Senate.” 

“We are limited in what the parliamentarian in the Senate will allow,” she said, “and that is most unfortunate.” 


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    6 days ago

To think that such a decision is left to one person. A person who once allowed 1 shot at reconciliation to Republicans and now gave democrats two.



And Speaker   Nancy Pelosi   (D-Calif.), during a recent virtual town hall, pledged that Democrats would “fight” for their immigration plan but acknowledged there are questions about what “will survive the parliamentarian in the Senate.” 

“We are limited in what the parliamentarian in the Senate will allow,” she said, “and that is most unfortunate.” 

It's so unfortunate that democrats can't pass whatever they want with a 50 vote tie in the US Senate.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    6 days ago

[removed]

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
1.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  devangelical @1.1    6 days ago

[removed]

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.1    6 days ago

[removed]

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
2  Greg Jones    6 days ago

Don't forget that the Dems have done little to slow down the surge of unvaccinated and unvetted migrants at the southern border, and now they want to continue the insanity with the Afghan refugees

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Greg Jones @2    6 days ago

The rule seems to be that the bad Americans must get vaccinated and the good migrants & refugees need not worry about it.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
2.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1    6 days ago

I am ready for someone to try and state immigrants are more resistant to Covid than fat lazy Americans; and do not spread Covid either.

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
2.1.2  Gazoo  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1    6 days ago

They don’t want to anger their future voters right off the bat.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.3  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Gazoo @2.1.2    5 days ago

Future voters that will not know what the issues are and simply vote for the person with a (D) after his/her name. You can't beat it with a stick!

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
3  Ronin2    6 days ago

Never an egg timer around when you need one.

8 million green cards? Why not ask for 40 million; or whatever the highest current estimate of illegal immigrants is?

This is nothing more than an attempt to get more Democrat votes. They don't give a rats ass about these people; or us for that matter; they are just doing whatever it takes for them to stay in power- and reach their goal of a one party system. They want the same trappings as the CCCP and Russian politicians have.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4  Texan1211    6 days ago

Will Democrats ever learn that granting amnesty to illegal aliens only begets more illegal aliens?

Hasn't the last 40 years or so proven that to them yet?

 
 
 
Gazoo
Sophomore Silent
4.1  Gazoo  replied to  Texan1211 @4    6 days ago

Maybe that’s what they want? I would not be surprised.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online

JaneDoe
gooseisback
Sunshine
Snuffy
Wishful_thinkin
Ronin2


28 visitors