Congress’ far-left “Squad” is calling on Democratic leaders to simply ignore the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling Sunday night blocking plans to give amnesty to illegal immigrants in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package.
The Democratic lawmakers, already angry over Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough‘s decision in February to reject creating a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage in a coronavirus relief bill, said it is time to change the rules.
“This ruling by the parliamentarian is only a recommendation. @SenSchumer and the @WhiteHouse can and should ignore it,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, said on Twitter. “We can’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do the right thing.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York hasn’t gone that far. He said his Democrats have an alternate proposal to run by Ms. MacDonough to give a path to citizenship to refugees, farmworkers and so-called Dreamers who came to the U.S. illegally as children and grew up as Americans.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Democrat, agreed with her fellow Squad member.
“It’s time to stop honoring archaic procedures and honor the promises we made to immigrant families,” Ms. Pressley tweeted.
The pressure to ignore the rules also came from immigration advocates.
United We Dream, a group pushing for citizenship for Dreamers, called out Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Mr. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“This recommendation is NOT binding. Democratic Senators still have the power to pass citizenship for millions through reconciliation,” the group said. “This isn’t over. The parliamentarian doesn’t make decisions. Biden, Harris, Schumer, Pelosi do.”
The ruling is not the first time the left has pushed for changing the rules to pass a liberal agenda.
With Republicans able to block proposals like a Democratic measure undoing elections changes being passed by states, Democrats have called for eliminating the filibuster.
Democrats had planned to force through amnesty in the $3.5 trillion bill using a special procedure known as budget reconciliation. The procedure allows some spending and tax measures to avoid the 60-vote filibuster threshold and pass with a simple 51-vote majority.
As the parliamentarian, Ms. MacDonough is the gatekeeper of the chamber’s rules with the power to referee what gets into a budget reconciliation bill. Her ruling nixed the chance to include amnesty in the package.
Democrats argued the effects of an amnesty would be hundreds of billions of dollars in government revenue and benefits over the coming decades, which meant it should qualify as a budget measure. Republicans argued those effects were ancillary and said the plans would increase the deficit in future decades, which is also a violation of budget rules.
Republicans praised Ms. MacDonough‘s ruling, saying it gives the Senate a chance to attempt a bipartisan immigration overhaul that would focus on border security and other reforms as well as legalizing some illegal immigrants.
“Democrats will not be able to stuff their most radical amnesty proposals into the reckless taxing and spending spree they are assembling behind closed doors. This just illustrates how radical Democrats’ aspirations are and how unmoored their far-left wish list has become from the procedures they want to use to ram it through,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
“Democratic leaders refused to resist their progressive base and stand up for the rule of law, even though our border has never been less secure. After decades of failing to enact their amnesty agenda, Democrats tried this latest unprecedented gambit. It was inappropriate and I’m glad it failed,” he said.
• Stephen Dinan contributed to this story.