Dem Sens Weigh Circumventing Parliamentarian on Amnesty


Forget going nuclear or using the budget reconciliation tactic in the Senate, passé in aggressive era of modern politics: Democrats upset with the Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough are weighing circumventing her recommendations in pushing their immigration agenda.

Democrats want to create a path to citizenship for the illegal migrants they have allowed into the U.S. under President Joe Biden, and after the parliamentarian objected to the inclusion of immigration under budget reconciliation tactics, Democrats are weighing ignoring her non-binding ruling altogether.

“We strongly disagree with the Senate parliamentarian’s interpretation of our immigration proposal, and we will pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act,” a group of six Democrat senators led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wrote in a joint statement denouncing the Senate’s nonpartisan, unelected adviser who interprets standing rules and procedures.

“Throughout the entire reconciliation process, we have worked to ensure that immigration reform was not treated as an afterthought. The majority of Americans support our efforts to provide legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States because it would raise wages, create good-paying jobs, enrich our economy, and improve the lives of all Americans.

“The American people understand that fixing our broken immigration system is a moral and economic imperative, and we stand with the millions of immigrant families across the country who deserve better and for whom we will not stop fighting.”

The statement was co-signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M.; and Alex Padilla; D-Calif.

“Every tool that exists whether it’s legislative or procedural should be kept on the table,” Luján told The Hill. “We need to pursue every option.”

Menendez is involved in the negotiations for the next move forward and says Senate Democrats are “considering all the options legislatively, procedurally, administratively.”

Durbin told The Hill the statement above speaks for itself, when asked about the consideration of overruling the Senate parliamentarian.

MacDonough has already rejected two Democrat plans to provide amnesty for illegals under the budget reconciliation tactic to pass the Build Back Better Act.

“The parliamentarian was wrong, as a matter of law,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told The Hill. “The reconciliation bill has included immigration provisions multiple times in the past, and this bill clearly met the threshold of budgetary impact.

“We’re keeping all options on the table.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, dismissed MacDonough’s authority to act as a nonpartisan adviser to the 50-50 Senate, which give Democrats control on the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, the Biden administration’s immigration czar.

“The protection of millions of undocumented immigrants cannot be halted due to the advice of 1 person,” Hirono tweeted in defiance of Senate norms in heeding the advice of the parliamentarian.

Moderate Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are more respective to the parliamentarian than the rest of immigration hard-liners in the Democratic Party.

“You stick with the parliamentarian,” Manchin told The Hill, “on every issue. You can’t pick and choose.”

Sinema was equally unwilling to break norms.

“There is no instance in which I would overrule a parliamentarian’s decision,” she said earlier this year.