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Omar calls for Schumer to ignore Senate parliamentarian ruling – it’s our ‘once in a lifetime’

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U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the chamber’s 49 other Democrats to ignore a decision by the parliamentarian stating the addition of an amnesty provision in the $3.5 trillion spending package violates rules governing reconciliation legislation.

Earlier, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that the inclusion of an amnesty for millions of people in the U.S. illegally would be a disallowed expenditure because it would likely add to the national debt.

“The reasons that people risk their lives to come to this country – to escape religious and political persecution, famine, war, unspeakable violence and lack of opportunity in their home countries –cannot be measured in federal dollars,” she noted in her ruling. “The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation.”

Added Chad Pergram of Fox News, “[R]econciliation bills, which Democrats were using to avoid a filibuster, must be strictly fiscal in nature and can’t add to the deficit. It was believed that this push to add immigration to the bill was too policy driven.”

“We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues. We will continue fighting to pursue the best path forward to grant them the ability to obtain lawful status,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Twitter. “Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days.”

But Omar, a member of the far-left “Squad” in the House, nevertheless pushed Schumer to cast aside MacDonough’s ruling and include the measure in the massive spending bill anyway.

This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation. @SenSchumer and the @WhiteHouse can and should ignore it. We can’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to do the right thing,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

According to the provision, the spending bill provides legal status, as well as eventual citizenship, to millions of people brought illegally into the U.S. as kids. Also, it would allow many more to receive green cards, including agricultural workers and people given Temporary Protected Status because of dangerous conditions in their home nations.

Nevertheless, for the time being, the ruling is a major setback for Democrats and the Biden administration.

“A big loss for Democrats in their push to legalize undocumented immigrants as part of the reconciliation bill. The Senate parliamentarian rejects the Dems’ arguments and says the ‘policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact,” CNN’s Manu Raju wrote on Twitter.

Even without MacDonough’s ruling, the gargantuan spending package faced an uphill battle.

Earlier this month, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) said he couldn’t support the measure at its current price tag because trillions in COVID-related spending has already been passed and is yet to be disbursed. Also, he worried that the legislation would become a permanent drain on the Treasury.

In addition, reports Monday said that another moderate-leaning Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, has issues with a portion of the legislation as well.

“Sinema met with President Joe Biden on Sept. 15 to discuss the social spending package, in which party leaders hope to include the Medicare prescription drug pricing proposal,” Politico reported.

“Sinema has made her resistance to the current House prescription drug negotiation proposal clear to the White House, according to one of the sources, but it’s unclear if she’s completely immovable.”

Jon Dougherty

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