Senate

Manchin says he won’t vote to overrule Senate parliamentarian

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Wednesday that he won’t vote to overrule the Senate parliamentarian during the upcoming debate on Democrats’ social and climate spending bill.

“People might be all excited about something now. … It might not even fit in the bill because on our side it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t come within the rules of reconciliation,” Manchin told Fox News’s Bret Baier. 

“I’m not going to vote to overrule the parliamentarian,” Manchin added. “I’m not going to do that; they all know that.” 

Because Democrats are trying to bypass Senate Republicans on President Biden’s spending plan, they have to comply with the rules governing reconciliation, an arcane budget process that lets them avoid the filibuster. 

The Senate parliamentarian provides guidance to senators about if policies meet the Byrd rule, named after the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), that restricts what can be included in a reconciliation bill. 

If it doesn’t comply with the rule, it will be stripped out of the bill — or Democrats could try to overrule the parliamentarian. But that would take total unity from the 50-member Senate Democratic caucus, meaning they would need Manchin’s support. 

In addition to Manchin’s opposition, members of Senate Democratic leadership have previously signaled that they don’t believe they have the votes for such a move. 

But the parliamentarian has frustrated activists this year, first by ruling against including a $15 per hour minimum wage in a coronavirus relief bill. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tried to put it back in the bill as an amendment, which required 60 votes because it didn’t meet the budget rules, but lost several Democratic senators in addition to Republicans.

Immigration activists are also urging Democrats to overrule the parliamentarian after she nixed two attempts to provide legal permanent residents (LPR) status to millions of undocumented immigrants, saying the provisions didn’t comply with the budget rules. 

Democrats are currently crafting the third option, which is expected to provide work authorization and protection from deportation to some undocumented immigrants, but still need to pitch it to the Senate referee.

In addition to the immigration language, Manchin has floated that a paid leave plan could get pushback from the Senate parliamentarian, though a senior Democratic aide said that “the parliamentarian has not limited Democrats’ ability to do paid leave through reconciliation.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Build Back Better Byrd Rule Immigration reform Joe Biden Joe Manchin overrule the parliamentarian paid leave Reconciliation Senate parliamentarian

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