Senate Parliamentarian rules it’s not ok for Dems to use $3.5 trillion bill to fund new immigration policy

Democrats suffered another setback on their massive spending bill late Sunday, as the Senate Parliamentarian made the news.

Many Americans have never heard of the “Senate Parliamentarian,” after all, America doesn’t have a parliament. The Parliamentarian’s job is to be an official advisor to the U.S. Senate on the nonpartisan interpretation of standing rules of the Senate and the procedure in which it is conducted. Now, Americans are suddenly becoming familiar as she has made the news – by handing President Joe Biden a public image defeat.

Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has advised that Democrats cannot use the massive $3.5 trillion spending bill to provide over 8 million green cards to potential immigrants. This “ruling” is, of course, only an advisory position, but it carries a certain legitimacy and thus has resulted in negative publicity for Democratic prospects at unilaterally providing a pathway to citizenship for the illegal immigrants currently in America.

In her decision, MacDonough wrote that the proposal isn’t meeting the criteria of what can be tacked onto a spending bill, and it is “by any standards a broad, new immigration policy.”

“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it, and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” MacDonough wrote, according to The Hill, which obtained a copy of her decision.

According to The New York Times, Democrats had pitched the idea to her earlier in the month, seeking her blessing for tossing in a rider to the spending bill that would allow illegal immigrants to become citizens if they passed certain health checks and paid $1,500, among various other proposed requirements. The plan would have sought to “re-capture” more than 226,000 visas that went unused in the last few years because of COVID-19 restrictions and other bureaucratic obstacles, which would then allow still more visas to be issued.

However, Senate Republicans had also taken their case to MacDonough, naturally arguing that the immigration reform the Democrats sought was totally outside the scope of what could be passed under a reconciliation bill, a view that MacDonough ultimately agreed with.

Democrats have asserted that their proposal would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next decade or so, and believe that 400,00 jobs would be created by the massive influx of legalized immigrants. Yet the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) seemed to feel the opposite, stating that they estimate it would increase debt, not income, by about $139 billion over the same period (a decade into the future), mostly due to various federal benefits the newly minted citizens would then be eligible for.

MacDonough pointed out that a spending bill in reconciliation (between the House and the Senate) must change the federal government’s revenue or spending in some way, and that such changes cannot be “merely incidental” side-effects, which she ruled it was. MacDonough wrote that “changing the law to clear the way to LPR status is [a] tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact,” in her decision.

Democrats immediately took to Twitter, where “Parliamentarian” was a trending tag on Monday morning. Many tried to remind people that MacDonough’s advice doesn’t actually carry the force of law:

However, as the above tweet points out, the media (including the liberal media) seems to have already made it clear that they feel this kills the proposal and casts further doubt on whether the $3.5 trillion bill may go through at all.


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