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Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Sunday that Democrats cannot include pathways to citizenship in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, per a copy of the ruling obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's a blow to Democrats who hoped to provide pathways for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Using reconciliations would have allowed them to pass politically contentious immigration changes with only 50 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required.

  • "Changing the law to clear the way to [legal permanent residence] status is tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact," the parliamentarian wrote in the ruling.
  • The plan would have provided green cards for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders and undocumented essential workers.
  • It's the second time since President Biden took office that the parliamentarian has clipped Democratic efforts to push the limits of reconciliation. The first time stopped efforts to raise the minimum wage.

What to watch: Democrats plan to go back to the parliamentarian to see if there are ways to provide other kinds of legal immigration status to the undocumented populations, said Kerri Talbot, deputy director for the Immigration Hub, who has been deeply involved in the efforts.

What they're saying: "We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

  • "Senate Democrats have prepared an alternative proposal for the Parliamentarian’s consideration in the coming days," said Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) in a statement.  
  • A White House spokesperson told Axios: "The President has made very clear that he supports efforts by Congress to include a pathway to citizenship in the reconciliation package.
"The Parliamentarian’s ruling is deeply disappointing but we fully expect our partners in the Senate to come back with alternative immigration-related proposals for the Parliamentarian to consider."
— White House spokesperson

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further comment from the parliamentarian, and remarks by Schumer, Durbin, Padilla and the White House.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.

Updated 17 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 17 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the pandemic caused a corporate rebound

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork becomes a public company today worth more than $9 billion — a vindication of the expensive turnaround strategy employed after it spectacularly imploded in 2019. Like many companies that find themselves at death's door, that which didn't kill them made them stronger.

Why it matters: Hertz, Alamo Drafthouse, Airbnb, and Toast are among the currently-thriving companies that were shaken to the core in the early days of the pandemic — providing further evidence for the theory that, in the words of former Fast Company editor Bill Taylor, "companies can't be great unless they've almost failed."