Saturday, September 11, 2021

Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards

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 '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.

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.

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.

The Senate plan is narrower than Biden's pledge to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants.

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.

House Speaker, during a recent virtual townhall, pledged that Democrats would "Fight" for their immigration plan but acknowledged there are questions about what "Will survive the parliamentarian in the Senate." 

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