The Senate Parliamentarian’s opinion on budget processes
The Senate Parliamentarian is the policy advisor to the upper chamber of Congress and is in charge of reviewing budget proposals and deciding whether they meet the mandatory requirements under Senate rules.
In other words, the Senate Parliamentarian is the referee of Senate policy and procedure, and gives his or her opinion regarding bills entering this chamber.
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Senate Parliamentarian has rejected the immigration language
The current Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, has on multiple occasions reviewed Biden’s budget package, which has already passed the House of Representatives and must now face Senate scrutiny.
However, so far, the Senate Parliamentarian has rejected the immigration language included in Biden’s spending bill, stating that more than a budgetary issue, it is an update to local immigration policies.
Thus, the Senate Parliamentarian’s opinion has become an obstacle for Democratic leaders, who plan to promote the first immigration reform in decades through the budget reconciliation process.
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Democratic leaders modified immigration provisions several times
Initially, Democratic leaders, among many other things, proposed to open a path to citizenship for approximately 11 million immigrants residing in the US undocumented.
After the Senate Parliamentarian ruled against this proposal, Democratic leaders proposed updating the Registry Provision to offer lawful permanent residency to millions of undocumented immigrants.
However, the Senate Parliamentarian rejected the Democratic leaders’ second immigration proposal as well, stating that such a change in immigration policy could not be included in the spending bill.
Thus, the latest attempt by Democratic leaders is to expand the parole power to offer temporary protection (up to 10 years) from deportation to approximately 7 million undocumented immigrants.
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Senate Parliamentarian likely to accept immigration language this time around
According to sources close to the discussions, the Senate Parliamentarian met with Democratic leaders on Tuesday, November 23 and, for the first time since Biden’s budget package was introduced, did not immediately reject the immigration language.
Thus, although the ruling is not yet official, it is possible that the Senate Parliamentarian will give the green light for Democratic leaders to expand parole power and offer temporary amnesty to eligible undocumented immigrants through the spending bill.
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