On Thursday, Joe Biden issued a statement that throws in the towel on getting a positive Senate vote on his monstrous “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation spending bill in 2021. His effort to get the bill rammed through the Senate on a straight party-line vote was stalled again by a decision from the Senate parliamentarian that sweeping immigration reform could not be included in a bill presented as a budget measure.
The parliamentarian wrote in her ruling that the proposed changes to immigration law would make around 6.5 million people eligible for citizenship who currently are not. She ruled that the provisions amount to “substantial policy changes” with permanent effects that go far beyond ordinary budgetary impacts. The ruling means that those measures would have to be passed under standard legislative rules, which would trigger the 60 vote threshold needed to override a Republican filibuster.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was again in the spotlight, as the Democrats had no chance of getting the bill passed without his vote. The moderate Democrat has been expressing frustration with some of his questions about the bill. On Wednesday, he exclaimed, “This is bulls**t! You’re bulls**t!” at a reporter for the Huffington Post. He added that he does not and has never been opposed to child tax credits before storming away.
Including a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens was disallowed late on Thursday, leading Biden to admit another setback. He wrote in his statement that he believes Democrats will bridge their differences, “even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.” He added that it takes time to reach agreements, revise the bill’s language, and deal with “parliamentary and procedural steps” before the Senate can vote.
Democratic lawmakers issued a separate statement disagreeing with the parliamentarian’s ruling and insisted they still intend to somehow include the immigration amnesty and citizenship measures in the bill. The statement claimed that the “American people understand” that immigration reform is a “moral and economic imperative.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) admitted to reporters that Senate Democrats currently do not have an alternative plan for moving the spending bill forward.