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Senate Parliamentarian Blocks Immigration Reform From Democrats’ Spending Bill For Third Time

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough rejected another Democratic effort to include immigration reform in President Joe Biden’s spending bill.

MacDonough’s ruling, which came late Thursday, is Democrats’ latest setback in their bid to overhaul the nation’s immigration system via the reconciliation bill. She rejected two bids earlier this year to include a pathway to citizenship in the package, ruling that the provisions did not meet the criteria to be included in the filibuster-proof legislation.

“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,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico and Alex Padilla of California said in a joint statement.

“The American people understand that fixing our broken immigration system is a moral and economic imperative,” they said.

The Congressional Budget Office in November concluded that had the ruling been adopted it would have established a pathway to citizenship for approximately 6.5 million people.

The parliamentarian’s ruling is just the latest setback the $1.75 trillion package which has faced heightened resistance from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, forcing Schumer to punt the bill into next year.

It is also not the first time MacDonough has ruled against Democrats this year; in February, she blocked a $15 minimum wage from their coronavirus stimulus package, which was signed into law in March.

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