The US Senate parliamentarian ruled Sunday night Democrats cannot include a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens in the their $3.5 trillion social-spending bill.
According to the Associated Press, Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate’s nonpartisan parliamentarian, ruled that that the immigration language could not be included in the massive spending bill that’s been protected from Republican filibusters. The ruling potentially wrecks Democrats’ hopes of unilaterally enacting changes which would have allowed multiple categories of illegal migrants to gain permanent residence and possibly citizenship. MacDonough was appointed in 2012 when Democrats controlled the chamber.
The liberal Center for American Progress has estimated that 6 million illegal immigrants could have taken advantage of the Democrats’ legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), said in a statement, "We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues. Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days."
The news comes on the heels of the Biden administration’s approval rating crashing down into the 30s.
Axios reported that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) "is privately saying he thinks Congress should take a ‘strategic pause’ until 2022 before voting on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social-spending package." According to the outlet, any delay from Manchin could "imperil House passage of the separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Pelosi has promised to pass by Sept. 27."
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, (D-AZ), reportedly informed the White House that she does not support the drug-pricing reforms which are also part of the spending bill.
Politico reported, "Sinema met with President Joe Biden on Sept. 15 to discuss the social spending package, in which party leaders hope to include the Medicare prescription drug pricing proposal. Sinema has made her resistance to the current House prescription drug negotiation proposal clear to the White House, according to one of the sources, but it’s unclear if she’s completely immovable."
Democratic leaders will need almost every vote in Congress from their party and can’t lose any Democrat votes in the 50-50 Senate to approve their 10-year, $3.5 trillion bill.