Parliamentarian rejects Dems' immigration provisions for 3rd time
Senate Democrats got another "no" from the parliamentarian on Thursday for their latest plan to provide protections for undocumented immigrants in the $1.75 trillion "human" infrastructure bill, the Wall Street Journal first reported.
Why it matters: Democrats have promised to pursue immigration reform through legislation that's also focused on expanding the social safety net and addressing climate change. But it's unclear if there is a remaining pathway.
- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters on Capitol Hill that he was "disappointed" and that Democrats "are considering what options remain."
Between the lines: Democrats have already banded together to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill focused on road and bridge construction. The $1.75 trillion follow-on package targets climate change and would expand the social safety net.
- The rejected proposal would have provided protection from deportation, work permits and potential access to other benefits for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimated 6.5 million people would have qualified.
What they're saying: The Senate parliamentarian wrote in a memo, "These are substantial policy changes with lasting effects just like those we previously considered and outweigh the budgetary impact."
- Senate Democratic leaders say they have not given up on pursuing immigration reform, promising in a statement to "pursue every means to achieve a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act."
The big picture: Two earlier and more expansive plans have already been rejected by the Senate parliamentarian, the first of which offered pathways to citizenship for as many as 8 million immigrants.
- In earlier decisions, the parliamentarian criticized the provisions as being too sweeping and focused on immigration policy, rather than the budget — a requirement for legislation passed through the reconciliation process.
- The iterative "Byrd Bath" process allows a back and forth between the parliamentarian and lawmakers.