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Democrats prep 'Plan B' after immigration bid rejected

Suzanne Monyak, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

Some advocates stressed that MacDonough is an unelected official, and that these types of procedural maneuvers may not resonate with voters as much as a positive or negative outcome on legalization would.

“She was not elected. Voters elected Democrats and voters elected President Biden,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center who served as co-chair of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force on Immigration. “Most voters don’t even know what a parliamentarian is.”

Chen, of AILA, said Democratic leadership must evaluate whether they have enough colleagues who believe the parliamentarian’s decision was mistaken or lacked reasoning.

“The parliamentarian’s ruling does leave itself somewhat vulnerable to that kind of criticism, because there are different points in the ruling where the parliamentarian seems to be making judgments about immigration policy rather than making a determination about budgetary impact, which is the realm of her jurisdiction,” he said.

However, Democratic leadership and the Biden administration may hesitate to back such a move. Similar calls to overrule MacDonough were made earlier this year when she rejected Democratic efforts to include a minimum wage increase via budget reconciliation.


Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., the Democratic whip and Judiciary Committee chairman overseeing the immigration parts of the bill, told reporters Monday he didn’t think overruling the parliamentarian was a “realistic” outcome.

“I don’t believe that’s realistic. The votes needed on the floor are not there,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong. I just don’t think at this moment that’s a realistic approach.”


(Chris Cioffi contributed to this story.)

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