Democrat leaders are being urged to ignore a Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that disallows immigration reforms from being included in a massive $3.5 trillion domestic spending package.
In a tweet, progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., called the ruling announced Sunday by Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough — which would significantly set back President Joe Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda, including a plan to provide green cars to millions of immigrants — just a “recommendation.”
Omar, a member of the progressive group dubbed the “squad” says lawmakers can ignore it.
“This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation. @SenSchumer and the @WhiteHouse can and should ignore it,” Omar tweeted, referring to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
“We can’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to do the right thing.”
Biden, on the campaign trail, had made immigration reform a priority after a string of previous administrations have promised — and failed — to overhaul an immigration system both parties assert is broken.
The $3.5 trillion spending bill currently moving its way through Congress includes provisions providing legal status, and the potential for eventual citizenship, for millions of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children — known as “Dreamers.”
The legislation would also provide green cards to other groups of immigrants, including farmworkers and those who have been granted Temporary Protected Status due to perilous conditions in their home countries.
MacDonough found those policy changes flout the Senate’s reconciliation rules, which Democrats are using to move the $3.5 trillion package without GOP support.
“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” she wrote in the ruling.
Omar was not alone in criticizing the guidance. Schumer said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the ruling and vowed to find other ways to get Biden’s immigration agenda enacted.
“Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days,” Schumer said in a statement, the Associated Press reported.
MacDonough has frustrated Democrats before, the AP reported.
In February, she issued guidance preventing Democrats from including a mandatory $15 federal minimum wage in an enormous package providing economic and health care relief from the coronavirus pandemic.
The move brought howls from progressives, who wrote to Biden urging him to “refute” the ruling and press ahead with the wage hike, The Hill reported. He declined, and the wage remains at $7.25 per hour.