White House: Parliamentarian rejecting immigration offer ‘deeply disappointing’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said that it is deeply disappointing that the Senate parliamentarian rejected the most recent plan from Democrats for including immigration reform in President Biden’s Build Back Better bill.
“The decision by the parliamentarian is deeply disappointing and relegates millions to an uncertain and frightening future,” Psaki told reporters on Friday.
She said that Biden, his administration, and their partners on the Hill “vehemently disagree” with the decision.
The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, told senators that immigration reform doesn’t meet the rules for what can be included in a budget measure bypassing the Senate’s filibuster, a major setback for Democrats hoping to provide a pathway to citizenship in the sweeping climate and spending bill.
“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down the road and finally provide certainty and stability to these groups and make other badly needed reforms to our outdated immigration system,” Psaki said.
While the ruling isn’t binding and has fueled calls for Democrats to try to sidestep it, Psaki would not say that the administration supports dismissing the parliamentarian’s decision.
“We would encourage and support any effort that they make to look at any ways to move immigration forward, but I’m not suggesting we’re advocating for a change in the Senate parliamentarian rules at this point in time, I’m just suggesting we support their efforts to get immigration reform done,” she said.
Psaki added that Biden will keep “fighting to give relief and protection to the many dreamers, [Temporary Protected Status] holders, farmworkers, and essential workers who are living in fear.”
MacDonough had previously rejected two plans from Democrats on immigration reform, and this third plan would have granted 6.5 million foreign nationals a temporary parole status that would give them five-year work and travel permits.