Senate parliamentarian rules amnesty out of reconciliation

Politico reports that the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, has decided that providing a pathway to legal status and citizenship for illegal immigrants is not a budget-related matter, and therefore cannot be enacted through the “reconciliation” process. This seems to mean that when the Democrats finally get around to passing budget reconciliation legislation, which they can do with a simple Senate majority, it will not include amnesty. To accomplish amnesty, the Dems will need 60 votes, and they don’t have them.

Politico obtained a copy of the parliamentarian’s ruling. It finds that the Democrats’ proposal is “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy” and that this policy change “substantially outweighs the budgetary impact of that change.”

Senate Majority Leader Schumer said he is “deeply disappointed by the decision.” No doubt. But he can hardly be surprised by it.

The parliamentarian’s ruling is a no-brainer for reasons I discussed in this post and those set forth in the links. As the editors of National Review wrote, if the parliamentarian ruled otherwise, then “the position of parliamentarian might as well be abolished since it will no longer serve any purpose.”

Schumer says he will meet with the parliamentarian in the coming days. According to Politico, the Senate Dems have some sort of Plan B through which they hope to wedge amnesty into reconciliation.

However, Politico adds that “it’s unclear how new reasoning for immigration provisions with the same ultimate effect could win over the parliamentarian.” Therefore “the new ruling likely closes the path forward for providing legal status through Democrats-only legislation this Congress.”

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