Biden, Dems 'vehemently disagree' with Senate parliamentarian rejecting immigration proposal

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed frustration on behalf of President Biden’s administration Friday after the Senate parliamentarian rejected the Democrats’ immigration reform proposal from their $2 trillion policy package.

“Well, the decision by the parliamentarian is deeply disappointing and relegates millions to an uncertain and frightening future,” Psaki told reporters during a gaggle aboard Air Force One. “The president, the administration, our partners on the Hill vehemently disagree with this decision.”

Democrats in both the House and Senate see their reconciliation spending bill as a unique opportunity to pass immigration reform. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, called it a “ventana de oportunidad” – Spanish for “window of opportunity.”

This is because the filibuster threshold on a reconciliation bill is lowered from 60 to 51. Therefore, if Senate Democrats stay united they could completely overhaul the immigration system without any GOP votes. 

But the bills passed under reconciliation are also subject to the “Byrd Rule,” which bars provisions that do not have a fiscal impact from being included in the bill. Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough rules which parts of the bill fall under that rule and must be removed. 

Psaki assured reporters that MacDonough’s ruling will not be the end of their amnesty campaign, adding that the White House believed now was the time for Congress to grant blanket amnesty to Dreamers and other noncitizens illegally residing in the United States.

“And we’ll keep fighting to give relief and protection to the many Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers and essential workers who are living in fear,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s time for Congress to stop kicking the can down the road and finally provide certainty and stability to these groups and make other badly needed reforms to our outdated immigration system.”

Asked if the Democrats should ram the legislation through regardless of parliamentarian consent, Psaki said the White House supported any efforts to work around the obstacle.

However, Psaki drew a clear parameter around the issue, refusing any suggestion that the Biden administration or Democrats would push for an overhaul of the parliamentarian position.

“I think they are. We would encourage and support any effort that they make to look at any ways to move immigration forward,” Psaki said. “But I’m not suggesting we’re we’re advocating for a change in the Senate parliamentarian rules at this point in time. I’m just suggesting we support our efforts to get immigration reform done.”

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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