92 legal scholars call on Harris to preside over Senate to include immigration in reconciliation

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  3 weeks ago  •  9 comments

By:   Rafael Bernal (MSN)

92 legal scholars call on Harris to preside over Senate to include immigration in reconciliation
A group of legal scholars from around the country called on Vice President Harris and Senate Democratic leadership to include immigration protections in the reconciliation package, despite the Senate parliamentarian's ruling against the move.The 92 scholars called on Harris, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) not to "overrule" Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whose...

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A group of legal scholars from around the country called on Vice President Harris and Senate Democratic leadership to include immigration protections in the reconciliation package, despite the Senate parliamentarian's ruling against the move.

The 92 scholars called on Harris, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) not to "overrule" Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whose rulings are non-binding, but for the presiding officer of the Senate to issue a ruling contrary to her advice.

"As you know, the Vice President serves as Presiding Officer when she is in attendance, and the President pro tempore or his designate serves as Presiding Officer at other times," wrote the scholars.

At issue is language that MacDonough ruled on Sept. 19 were incompatible with the rules of budget reconciliation bills.

That language, if enacted into law, would have allowed the federal government to offer legal permanent residency to around 8 million undocumented immigrants and immigrants on humanitarian parole programs who are not currently eligible to apply for permanent residency.

MacDonough said such a move would be a substantial change in policy, and would be extraneous to the strictly-budgetary requirements known as the Byrd Rule, limiting which provisions can be included in a reconciliation bill.

"When determining whether a provision is extraneous, the Presiding Officer may rely on the Senate Parliamentarian for expert advice," wrote the scholars. "However, as past Parliamentarians have emphasized, the ultimate decision on a point of order lies with the Presiding Officer, subject to appeal to the full Senate."

"The Presiding Officer therefore must exercise her own judgment in deciding whether a provision should be stricken from a budget reconciliation bill on Byrd Rule grounds," they added.

Reconciliation would allow Democrats to sidestep a Republican filibuster, and many immigration advocates believe the current political climate grants a unique opportunity for reform on the issue, which might not repeat itself in years.

While immigration provisions have not been at the center of intraparty debate on the reconciliation bill, groups of Democrats in the House and Senate have fought to include immigration in the bill.

MacDonough has so far struck down two separate proposals to grant legal permanent residency through relatively vague memoranda, among other things arguing that a permanent status would have such non-budgetary impacts as to outweigh its budgetary effects.

The scholars wrote that the parliamentarian cannot make a final authoritative determination on that point - that only the presiding officer or the full Senate on appeal can do so. To defeat any appeal to the presiding officer's ruling, Senate Democrats would need 51 votes, meaning Harris would have to be present and presiding over the Senate to cast the tie-breaking vote.

And the scholars argue the budgetary effects of granting legal permanent residency status to millions of people would be more than substantial.

"The outlay and revenue effects of extending LPR status to 8 million people are sweeping. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the budgetary effect of the LPR provisions would be $140 billion over the next 10 years - more than the entire effect of some statutes enacted through budget reconciliation in the past," they wrote.

The scholars listed a series of social programs and taxes that would be directly affected by granting the status to a large population, from the Affordable Care Act to increases in tax revenues from workers with better salaries.

Although the Byrd Rule does not allow for provisions with a "merely incidental" effect on the budget, the scholars argue the scope of a broad legalization package would have a direct and substantial effect on the federal budget.

"We see no basis in law or precedent for concluding that these outlay-related effects are 'merely incidental' to LPR status. Access to health insurance, homeownership and affordable rental housing, higher education, and income security cannot be characterized as 'chance or minor consequence[s].' They are, along with the non-budget-related benefits that the Parliamentarian canvassed, key elements of lawful permanent residence," they wrote.

Still, the group - which includes former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.) - wrote that the Democrats presiding over the Senate should not "overrule" MacDonough, rather take the responsibility for implementing the Byrd Rule.

"For the Senate to reach its own conclusion on the Byrd Rule's application to [immigration provisions] should not be seen as an 'overruling' of anyone. Rather, it would recognize that elected members of Congress are ultimately responsible for deciding whether to enact legislation, in accord with statutory constraints, the advice of civil servants, the voices of their constituents, and their own considered judgment," they wrote.


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Texan1211
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Texan1211    3 weeks ago

Some Democrats seem bound and determined to grant another round of amnesty.

When will it ever end?

I sincerely hope the Democrats and especially Ms. Harris have the guts to bypass the Parliamentarian's ruling.

Should be a huge winner during the midterms.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Texan1211 @1    3 weeks ago

I hope they don't.

It sends a bad message to those that obey our laws and take the right course for gaining citizenship in this country. 

It also sends a message out to those illegals yet to make the trip that there will be another amnesty after this one; and then another after that; and so on. 

While it would be a winner at mid terms; it would only be a short term victory; followed by a long term defeat. We cannot have millions of more illegals being added to this country. Our infrastructure and safety nets will not take it.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

92 "Legal scholars" who hate the law. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
PhD Quiet
3  Ed-NavDoc    3 weeks ago

Those scholars are calling on Harris and Schumer to do something they are just not qualified to do by temperament, lack of courage, ethics, honesty, and moral fortitude.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
4  1stwarrior    3 weeks ago

Immigration lawyers I betcha - need some more dough for Christmas.

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
5  GregTx    3 weeks ago

So they think we should rely on Harris's thoughtful analysis of the ramifications to the country?

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
PhD Quiet
5.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  GregTx @5    3 weeks ago

I'll wait till I see swine fly first!

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
5.1.1  GregTx  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @5.1    3 weeks ago

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
6  Snuffy    3 weeks ago

All this proves is that you can go out and find "experts" or "scholars" who will agree with what ever is put in front of them, you just have to search them out.

A bigger issue to me is, are the Democrats really willing to go down this road again?  As I remember, the Dems nuked the filibuster and the next time the Reps were in power they expanded it again. Now if the Dems succeed in basically removing the Reid Rule from the reconciliation process what will the Rep's push the next time they are in power?  All this does IMO is take us down to majority rules and removes any protections for the minority.  

Why is it that so many people these days are so singularly focused on their individual agenda and ignoring the big picture?  We see it in all walks of life but having that action in politicians impacts us a lot more than other people.  We vote for them, I thought, for their ability to see the bigger picture but if all they can do is focus on their agenda then what hope is there for the future? 

 
 
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