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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Majority Whip Dick Durbin. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Democrats are eyeing a way to overrule the Senate parliamentarian and provide pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants — but it will depend on the caucus, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), sticking together.

Why it matters: Providing protections for undocumented immigrants has been a central focus for Congressional Democrats. Failing could cost some needed political points heading into what are expected to be brutal midterm elections.

  • Next steps are expected to be discussed in a special caucus lunch on Friday, according to a Senate aide.
  • Democrats will ultimately need 50 votes to include pathways to citizenship in the $1.75 trillion "human" infrastructure package.
  • Two earlier proposals including pathways to citizenship failed the Byrd rule, which requires provisions to be primarily budget-related to be passed through the reconciliation process.

What they're saying: Following a third rejection from the Senate rules referee on Thursday night, Senate Democratic leaders issued a statement, hinting at an attempt to go around the parliamentarian.

  • "[W]e will pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act,” they said.

What we're watching: A final plan has not been decided on. But pro-immigration advocates are hoping Democrats take advantage of the opportunity and Senate rules to get pathways to citizenship done.

  • Other potential options include watering down the immigration provisions even further to get it past the parliamentarian and into the package through an amendment.
  • The latest rejected proposal did not include pathways to citizenship, but deportation protections and work permits for millions of undocumented immigrants.
  • If Democrats decide to side-step the parliamentarian, advocates involved expect they will look at full pathways to citizenship by changing the immigrant registry date — the "plan B" option which was also rejected.

Between the lines: It would be a long and complicated process with an initial vote requiring 41 Senate Democrats to agree to overrule the Senate parliamentarian.

  • That would need to be followed by a vote on the inclusion of any immigration provision, which would require a simple majority.

The big picture: Even if Democrats manage to get enough support to overrule the parliamentarian, the pathways to citizenship would still rely on Manchin's ultimate support of the roughly $1.75 trillion "human" infrastructure package.

  • Concerns from Manchin have forced Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to delay bringing the bill to the floor until next year.

Go deeper

Arkansas Senators: Don't bust filibuster

Sen. Tom Cotton; Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Sen. John Boozman; Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Both of Arkansas' Republican Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton made statements this week in defense of the chamber's filibuster rule.

Driving the news: President Biden attended the Senate Democratic caucus lunch Thursday to make a case for reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

Biden hosts Manchin and Sinema at White House to push for voting rights reform

President Biden speaks to reporters after a meeting with Senate Democrats in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden met with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) at the White House on Thursday night to discuss voting rights after they reaffirmed their opposition to reforming the filibuster, per the White House.

Why it matters: Biden and other Democrats want the Senate's filibuster rules changed in order to pass voting rights legislation.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.