AMAC Exclusive by Shane Harris
Early last week, conservatives celebrated a huge victory in the fight over President Biden’s signature blowout spending plan, the so-called “Build Back Better Act” (BBB), when West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin announced that he would not support the bill in its current form. But while Manchin’s announcement dominated the news coverage of BBB, Democrats received another less reported on but similarly destructive blow to their agenda when Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough announced last week – for the third time – that immigration provisions in the legislation did not have a significant enough fiscal impact to be included in the bill under budget reconciliation guidelines.
Now, Democrats are scrambling to address both of these major threats to their agenda and pass something as the midterm elections rapidly approach. Even if they can flip Joe Manchin, however, this latest in a string of defeats on the progressive push for mass amnesty suggests that Joe Biden and his allies in Congress may be facing an increasingly uphill battle.
Much of Democrats’ trouble stems from guidelines surrounding the budget reconciliation process they are using to try to pass Biden’s spending plan. Under Senate rules, most legislation must have the support of at least 60 senators for it to be considered. Otherwise, the minority party can filibuster any bill and effectively “kill” it.
One of the few exceptions are bills considered using the budget reconciliation process, which allows spending legislation to pass with the support of just 51 senators.
However, avoiding the 60-vote threshold comes at a cost. According to a decades-old precedent known as the “Byrd Rule” (named after late West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd), every part of any legislation passed under the budget reconciliation process must be related to spending or taxes.
The Senate Parliamentarian – a nonpartisan advisor who ensures legislation and Senate proceedings align with Senate rules – is the person charged with deciding which provisions in budget reconciliation bills do and do not meet the requirements of the Byrd Rule. In the case of Biden’s spending plan, MacDonough, who has been the Senate Parliamentarian since 2012, has ruled that immigration provisions as well as several other major Democrat initiatives contained in the bill do not meet those requirements.
McDonough shot down Democrats’ first attempt at including immigration reform in the bill in late September, ruling that “the policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation.” Under that initial plan, Democrats would’ve simply given out eight million green cards to illegal immigrants, without any plan for vetting recipients or securing the border to stem the ongoing flood of illegal crossings. Clearly, this proposal had little to do with the federal budget or fiscal policy.
However, Schumer was quick to respond that Democrats had other language ready – suggesting that they may have known from the beginning that their plan did not meet the requirements of the Byrd Rule.
Within days, Democrats had submitted “Plan B” to the parliamentarian’s office. Their second effort made use of a decades-old immigration law which allows illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States since 1972 to receive lawful permanent resident status. Plan B would have moved up the date from 1972 – in effect, again granting mass amnesty for illegal immigrants with no plan for how to secure the border.
Unsurprisingly to everyone except apparently Senate Democrats, MacDonough again rejected the plan, calling it a “weighty policy change,” the effect of which “vastly outweighs its budgetary impact.”
Irrespective of the repeated clear message from the parliamentarian’s office, Democrats included “Plan C” immigration language in the version of BBB passed by the House in November. This time, they hoped to use “parole in place” authorities to grant five-year work permits and relief from deportation to 6.5 million illegal immigrants – in other words, more mass amnesty.
MacDonough was again unequivocal in her reasoning for rejecting this latest iteration of Democrats’ attempt at massive immigration overhaul: “The proposed parole policy is not much different in its effect than the previous proposals we have considered… These are substantial policy changes with lasting effects just like those we previously considered and outweigh the budgetary impact.”
After this latest rejection, Democrats’ hopes of using the budget reconciliation process as a vehicle to overhaul the American immigration system appear to be on life support. But that doesn’t mean that radical open borders advocates in Congress are ready to admit defeat just yet.
Following MacDonough’s decision, Schumer and a host of other Senate Democrats released a joint statement slamming the ruling and promising to “pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.” Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who has long been one of the most progressive members of the Senate, said that “the parliamentarian was wrong, as a matter of law.” Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono was even more incredulous, tweeting that “the protection of millions of undocumented immigrants cannot be halted due to the advice of 1 person.” (It should be noted that MacDonough, the “1 person” Hirono referred to, has a demonstrated history of calling balls and strikes fairly for both sides. Not too long ago she was the subject of much Republican ire for similarly rejecting GOP efforts to repeal large sections of Obamacare using the budget reconciliation process.)
While some reports have suggested that, despite being shot down three times, Senate Democrats are nonetheless pursuing a “plan d” under the same general framework, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has denied the claim.
That leaves Democrats with fewer and fewer options to enact their extreme immigration agenda – all of which would involve breaking decades of precedent. Democrats could, for example, simply vote to overrule the parliamentarian, which would only require 51 votes. However, while progressives in the House and Senate, as well as outside immigration groups, have openly called for such a move, it would require the support of moderates Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, and would likely further underscore the radicalism of the Democratic Party in the eyes of the public – something the party can ill-afford heading into the midterm year.
Democrats could also simply replace MacDonough with a new parliamentarian who would rule in their favor. This strategy carries with it some risks as well, as Republicans would undoubtedly replace whoever Democrats install with their own parliamentarian once they retake the Senate, thus violating the political neutrality of the position, gutting the Byrd Rule, and effectively abolishing the filibuster.
Without the support of Joe Manchin, and with Democrat infighting continuing to divide the party, much of Biden’s agenda appears increasingly doomed. However, even if Democrats can manage to unite on policy, it looks as if it will take an even more radical lurch to the left to overcome procedural protections put in place to deter extreme policymaking – something that will likely on further endanger Democrats’ razor-slim majorities heading into the midterms next November.
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Pelosi always lies to the American people to get her way. How did PELOSI make over 100 million dollars.
Hmmm, she and her husband should be serving time. Oh, the elites.
I Believe InWhat You Are Doing!!!!
Once in awhile a Democrat does something right. Thank God for the Byrd Rule!
A few points:
1. Please stop referring to ‘”them” as “progressives” – a term first advanced by Marx. They are “regressives” – working to return us to a system of non-representative government.
“Progressive” is a nicer sounding, happy name, for Communist or Marxist. Like “Gay” is for homosexual!
I doubt Joe Biden can figure all this out. Biden’s just doing and going whichever way Jill or Kamala point him. Very unnerving to have someone like that being president.
If Joe Manchin is smart, he will continue to oppose any more spending by Jackass Joe Biden and the Looney Left Wing of the Communist-wannabe Democratic Party!
Otherwise, his political career representing West Virginia will be over!!!
… and if voters are gullible enough, they will be persuaded to vote for him!!! That’s Dempcrap[ routine when they sense that they have lost too many votes to compensate by election rigging.
So, it appears there is at least on sane person in this fray….and that may be the only way the politics get quelled. Who would have thought that the rules matter as our “leaders” play the game of push and shove and deal and compromise. Rules matter!
Why are the pelosi/schumer bunch of bandits called “Progressives?” When did progress involve stealing free citizens’ liberties, money, and hope and hand it all to government bureaucrats? To me the regressive. I call those types of people “lords” …. liberal oppressive regressive democrat socialists. I think that is a clearer description. The Democrats have always been about slavery/oppression. Check the history of the Democrat party.
Talk about a “dog with a bone”! These people are relentless in their quest for power by breaking every rule of democracy. The parliamentarian knows the rules and the violations. She’s very responsible and I hope Senators Manchin and Sinema will never allow her to be replaced.
Maybe Schumer should disperse with his power grab and do his job by representing the Constitution he swore to uphold. Or is he too far gone or compromised to do that?
You hit the nail squarely on its head. They are relentless and will stop at nothing to seize power. Political power is their god since they have rejected the One True God.
Joe never intended to uphold the Constitution. The plan all along has been to advance the Marxist revolution that has been driving the Democrat party platform for the past 60 years! The ideology took a strong hold on the party during the Johnson administration with it’s “Great Society” spending blowout.
More variants than Carter’s has pills. Variations of propaganda that is. Latest in mainstream media spin story is; that Republicans are conspiring to undermine democracy. Really. Pot calling the microscopic thimble black! Democrats/Communists determined to demonize American Police Officers, they set about to defund police, they circumvented approval by the legislature by issuing edicts from the Executive Office, they sent key democrats to companies and encouraged them to break the First Amendment, they promoted black listing by going to CEO’s of key social website companies, they had removed statues of ‘Our Founding Fathers’, portraits of famous people in history; who they designated as politically incorrect, rewrote our history; to promote Marxism, and continued to lie, lie, lie ad infinitum. A key reason, why democrats will leave in droves is: What has happened to the democratic party that people used to know? Or, maybe, there was a level of naivete in my being, that has been there for over sixty years!!? I think the later. All that spinning, spinning, spinning of a lie; to try and fabricate the truth is ludicrous. Calm. Americans are seeing the light. The light is peaking through ever so brightly between the historic sculpture of Mount Rushmore!
The former Democrat Party has been quietly infiltrated by Marxists (aka Progressives) over the last 50 + years. It’s all about power and control on a global scale.
Reading: ‘Masters Of Deceit’ ~ ‘The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It’ by J. Edgar Hoover ~ Copyright 1958 & ‘The Naked Communist’ by W. Cleon Skousen `; also, published in 1958. Realizing that since I was a small child at the time; that the essence of just what was going on was not apparent to me. The events of the last two years has brought up a ‘red flag’ so to speak in my consciousness. First disturbing incidence was in Portland, Oregon with the telecast by NBC of a group of Marxists who had downed a statue of: President George Washington. NBC interviewed one of the perpetrators. Next just four weeks ago; there was the removal of President Thomas Jefferson’s statue out of City Hall in New York; (from their council chamber.) That was really disturbing; realizing that public opinion had consciously or inadvertently taken an Marxist slant or perspective toward American History. President Jefferson of course, did not walk on water; (and he would be the first to admit that), however he was the brilliant author of the ‘Declaration of Independence’. His contribution to our Nation is incalculable. It was this and other events, that led me to believe that there was a massive takeover taking place. Everything seemed to be a deliberate distraction of what was really taking place. Few, wanted to listen what the above authors were trying to point out. The fruition of the Marxist effort is now taking place. God Help This Lovely Nation.
Let us remember that the Democrats want to rule over us, not to govern in a representative manner. They will do eve, including stealing a presidential election, to achieve their nefarious aims. They have learned well from their communist colleagues in China.
That’s right, the Dems don’t want your opinion, and don’t care if you are a casualty of their agenda.
Typical for Democrats. When you don’t like the rules, you break them. Sorry, but when more than 50% of the American people don’t agree with you, it’s not Democracy to push it through anyway. That’s called totalitarianism. Do that and you cause an uprising. Continue to adopt practices inconsistent with the Constitution and American values that created the greatest country in the world, and you’ll destroy it. This is the message that most conservatives believe.
Like I’ve said before. I no longer consider radical Democrats fellow citizens. Americans are those who were born here or who went through the naturalization process where you study what’s in the Constitution and profess a love of country. Any so-called amnesty bill must include pursuing complete control of the border and an end to illegal immigration. You don’t give illegal immigrants the right to vote solely to pursue leftist policies. That is not acceptable. There was an Amnesty bill passed in 1986 that was supposed to be a one-time solution measure requiring illegal immigrants to step forward and become American citizens within 5 years. No one should benefit in this country after breaking the law. Do this before the election of 2020 and you risk wholesale secession and possible Civil War. Democrats, you can’t force your politics onto the American people after an election that is widely viewed as tainted. It’s as simple as that.
They are planning on doing it by getting rid of the filibuster. Senator Ted Cruz spoke of it on his commentaries on Facebook. He’s my Senator, so I get these. Harris will be the tiebreaker. It’s also how they are going to ram the Build Back Better plan through. They are putting it through the Congress by getting rid of the Filibuster. It’s shameful.
Basically they want to REWARD people that entered our country either by legal or illegal ways. Overstaying their Visas and staying forever, sneaking over the borders with our citizenship. Then the newly amnestied lobby congress for the ENTIRE rest of their families to come “legally” off of their illegal entry. NOPE, that is why in just 30 or so years there are more Hispanics in this country than the black citizens. 20% for Hispanics, and 13.5% for the blacks. See how that works, they come illegally then DEMAND that they become citizens. It’s like hitting the lottery.
Mimi, we speak the same language.
So, if the wording you use doesn’t pass, you just change the wording. Nothing in the bill actually changes.
Want to use Omicron for control BUT illegals get Pass on Vax & masks
Is this fair.
& elites go maskless
omicron or any other variant if there is such thing is less scary than the fact that people are in step so much they are petrified more of authority than the “pandemic” what do they imagine would happen if every person across the country ripped off the mask simultaniously because that is the only way to end this mass madness and nightmare