The purpose of budget reconciliation rules in the Senate is to allow the money to continue to flow to where it’s needed. That’s why it bypasses filibuster rules and only requires a majority for passage. But the criteria to qualify for budget reconciliation are pretty strict and requires approval by the parliamentarian. This isn’t always easy. After all, budgets are budgets and policies are policies.
In recent years, both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to stretch the criteria for budget reconciliation with some success. Democrats are planning to push those criteria to the limits by working an amnesty bill into the next budget reconciliation, which will almost certainly be the proposed $2.2 trillion (and growing) infrastructure package. If you’re wondering how such a thing is even conceivable, we need only turn to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for an odd explanation.
“We think we can make a case about the budget impacts of immigration in our country, and we are going to try to do that,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on a call with Asian American Pacific Islander leaders last week, referencing the Byrd rule, which excludes nonbudgetary provisions from reconciliation bills.
The argument is ludicrous. By these standards, anything can be said to have budget impacts and therefore anything can be passed through reconciliation. For example, firearms are sold and require both taxes and expenditures by the federal government, so by the Democrats’ budget reconciliation standards they could pass gun control without a single Republican involved. This is dangerous territory.
According to Ponca City News:
Another budget reconciliation bill is likely on the horizon, and Democrats are eyeing the measure as a vehicle for a policy priority long mired in partisan disagreement: immigration overhaul. In the coming months, congressional Democrats and the White House could use a budgetary maneuver requiring a simple Senate majority to advance a sweeping infrastructure package. The possibility became more serious Monday when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that a revised budget resolution could potentially be used to pass another reconciliation bill.
Democrats used a fiscal 2021 budget resolution earlier this year as the vehicle for a $1.86 trillion coronavirus relief package. It’s far from certain that any immigration provisions could make it into another parliamentarian-approved reconciliation bill, and the comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system backed by the White House is even less likely. But, spurred on by immigration advocates desperate for legislative action, Democrats plan to try.
All of this comes at a time when the southern border is sieve with countless illegal aliens crossing over every day. It has gotten so bad that the Biden administration can asked for the use of a former Japanese internment camp in Los Angeles to help house the masses of people coming across. Today, Joe Biden’s “border czar” announced her departure.
President Joe Biden’s “border czar” will leave the White House at the end of April, an unexpected turn as the administration faces a surge of migrants along the southern U.S. border. Roberta Jacobson, a former ambassador to Mexico, has handled key relationships with Northern Triangle governments in Central America since her appointment to Biden’s National Security Council as the border coordinator and as a special assistant to the president.
With all of this happening, one would think this isn’t the best time for Democrats to push amnesty. Making the move will signal for MORE migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to make the dangerous trek to the United States southern border. And perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps, by their calculus, it behooves them to have so many illegal immigrants in the United States that they’re willing to put millions through great harm in order to hold onto power.
As further enticement, Democrats are including stimulus and other aid money designated for American citizens to start going to illegal immigrants as well. According to Roll Call:
Any successful attempt to include immigration-related provisions in a future reconciliation bill would likely make government benefits such as stimulus checks available to immigrant populations, said Molly Reynolds, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She’s less sure about broader provisions to provide a pathway to citizenship to immigrant groups.
Republicans are pushing back, but in reality it all rests in the hands of the senate parliamentarian. That hasn’t stopped the GOP from voicing their opposition.
Congressman Jim Jordan posted to Twitter, “Amnesty in an infrastructure bill when there’s a crisis at the southern border? Only Democrats would think of something this crazy.”
Amnesty in an infrastructure bill when there’s a crisis at the southern border?
Only Democrats would think of something this crazy. https://t.co/JkWkcCP09U
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 9, 2021
“It would come as no surprise if Democrats tried to convince themselves and the Senate Parliamentarian that somehow amnesty for illegal immigrants belongs in a budget reconciliation bill,” House Budget ranking member Jason Smith, R-Mo., said in a statement. “They clearly have little concern with throwing any number of their liberal wish list items into a reconciliation package in the hopes of jamming their agenda through Congress and radically changing the country.”
We expected Democrats to use dishonest and unprecedented steps to push through their radical agenda, but few saw this one coming. Amnesty through infrastructure budget reconciliation would be a new low for a group that’s already in the abyss.