Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/573 ... amentarian

Democrats are rejecting calls to overrule the Senate parliamentarian despite the bleak reality that, absent a breakthrough, they likely won't be able to get a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants to President Biden's desk given her unfavorable ruling.

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s decision that the immigration plan was “not appropriate” under the rules governing the $3.5 trillion spending bill dealt a significant blow to Democratic hopes of achieving meaningful immigration reform.

But while the party is scrambling to come up with an alternative that might pass muster with MacDonough, key members are shooting down calls from activists and House progressives to play hardball and try to overrule her on the Senate floor if they can’t sway her in the behind-the-scenes talks.

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“I don't believe that's realistic. I think the votes needed on the floor are not there,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), asked about the possibility of trying to overrule the parliamentarian.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), during a conference call with reporters, also tamped down questions about trying to roll the nonpartisan Senate referee, while also pledging that he and Democratic lawmakers would “continue to fight on.”

“While I understand the passion and I understand the sentiment behind it, I think it’s not necessarily constructive at this point,” he said of calls to get tougher with MacDonough.

The stance is likely to frustrate activists, who are publicly calling on Senate Democrats to be willing to challenge the parliamentarian in order to get immigration reform included into the spending plan.

“The parliamentarian is a clear political actor and what her ruling has made clear is that she is not a good arbiter of justice,” said Lorella Praeli, the co-president of Community Change Action.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY.) and the White House “can and should ignore” the guidance, adding that: “This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation.”

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But part of the problem for Senate Democrats is that they likely don’t have the support needed to successfully overrule MacDonough.

To challenge the findings of the parliamentarian, Democrats would need total unity from all 50 of their members in addition to Vice President Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are both viewed as unlikely to support overturning the parliamentarian. Manchin previously warned that he won’t undermine the Byrd rule, which lays out the guidelines for what can be included under reconciliation, and Sinema said earlier this year that there was “no instance” where she would overrule the parliamentarian.

It’s hardly the first time MacDonough’s guidance has crashed headlong into big party priorities. She nixed a progressive goal to include a $15 per hour minimum wage in the coronavirus relief bill earlier this year and ruled against a 2017 GOP ObamaCare repeal plan.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that he expected Democrats, and GOP staff making the argument to leave out immigration, to ultimately abide by what the parliamentarian decides.

“And the parliamentarian ... both sides agree, is the final word. You can't blame the other side for trying to use reconciliation as expansively as they want to. That's always the temptation of the majority, using the reconciliation process. But abiding by the ruling of the parliamentarian is essential to the function of the Senate, and so the parliamentarian will decide that issue,” McConnell told reporters during a press conference last week.

Biden pledged during his 2020 presidential campaign to provide a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. The Senate previously passed immigration reform language in 2013, but it died in the then-GOP-controlled House.

But given an entrenched stalemate with Republicans on immigration reform, the spending deal represents the party’s best shot at getting immigration reform to Biden’s desk. Because Democrats are using budget reconciliation on the $3.5 trillion spending bill they can get it through the Senate without GOP support if they are totally unified.

Democrats pitched MacDonough on offering 8 million green cards as part of the $3.5 trillion spending bill. Those green cards would go to four groups: Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, agricultural workers and essential workers.

Because Democrats are trying to pass the $3.5 trillion spending bill under budget reconciliation, there are strict rules as to what can be included in order for it to be able to pass by a simple majority.

One of the requirements is that any provision in the bill has to impact the federal government's spending or revenues and that the impact can't be “merely incidental” to nonbudgetary intentions.

Democrats were feeling optimistic that MacDonough would greenlight including the immigration proposal in the spending plan because it would increase budget deficits by $139 billion over a 10-year period, according to initial estimates they’ve received from the Congressional Budget Office.

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But MacDonough, in sweeping guidance obtained by The Hill, called the Democratic plan “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy.”

“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” she wrote.


MacDonough added that granting legal permanent resident status to immigrants, a key part of the Democratic bill, has “no federal fiscal equivalent.”

Democrats, publicly, say that they continue to be hopeful they’ll be able to get some sort of immigration reform into the spending bill. But a source told The Hill that MacDonough’s ruling “likely shuts [the] door on pathway to citizenship” in the spending bill.

“Last night’s ruling was extremely disappointing. It saddened me. It frustrated me. It angered me,” Schumer said on Monday. “But make no mistake, the fight continues. Senate Democrats have prepared alternative proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days.”


The Senate Parliamentarian is only an adviser that can be overruled and removed. The bottom line is Democrats control Congress and moderates don't want to be held accountable for not passing the agenda. The media is complicit in this scape-goating with the "All Powerful Parliamentarian." When Reps control congress they will have no problem overruling and removing her. Manchin, Sinema, Tester, and more simply do not want to pass certain parts of the agenda. It's time for everyone in the Senate to be honest about where they stand. Everyone seems to want to pretend that this rift in within the party does not exist. The Democrats are obstructing themselves. No need trying to blame Republicans anymore. Just blame the Senate Parliamentarian.
EAT,SLEEP,RANGE,REPEAT

Re: Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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CDFingers wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:50 pm Neoliberals have no spine, but they loves them some lobby money.

CDFingers
Ya know, I've been saying that to my wife for years. Ole McConnell would have none of that and throw the parliamentarian to the wolves. The ultimatum would have gone out immediately, do or die.
It's really pissing me off that the democrats always think they have to look like they are bipartisan. McConnell never goes there!

There’s no cheese down the "playing nice" tunnel. No point going there.
Redneck Liberal This Is The Way

Re: Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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If (when) our Democracy is destroyed, one man who could have prevented it, Joe "The DINO" Manchin, will be held accountable, putting his own seat ahead of the life of the nation. Manchin could and should, but won't, shut this whole nonsense down, passing the new voting rights act, the giant infrastructure bill, and replacing the Senate parliamentarian whose biases are clear.
"The upper class: keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class: pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there...just to scare the shit out of the middle class."--George Carlin

Re: Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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YankeeTarheel wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:08 am If (when) our Democracy is destroyed, one man who could have prevented it, Joe "The DINO" Manchin, will be held accountable, putting his own seat ahead of the life of the nation. Manchin could and should, but won't, shut this whole nonsense down, passing the new voting rights act, the giant infrastructure bill, and replacing the Senate parliamentarian whose biases are clear.
Well my dear senator Kyrsten Sinema is no different. She keeps asking me for money like I gave her last election and I keep telling her to stuff it. She gets a weekly piece of my mind.
Redneck Liberal This Is The Way

Re: Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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tonguengroover wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:12 am
YankeeTarheel wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:08 am If (when) our Democracy is destroyed, one man who could have prevented it, Joe "The DINO" Manchin, will be held accountable, putting his own seat ahead of the life of the nation. Manchin could and should, but won't, shut this whole nonsense down, passing the new voting rights act, the giant infrastructure bill, and replacing the Senate parliamentarian whose biases are clear.
Well my dear senator Kyrsten Sinema is no different. She keeps asking me for money like I gave her last election and I keep telling her to stuff it. She gets a weekly piece of my mind.
It just shows the Dem Leadership doesn't play hardball like the old line dems of yesteryear. When LBJ was Majority Leader of the senate in the 1950s and a Senator pulled crap like Manchin or Sinema is doing, they would be called into the Senate Cloak room by LBJ and told that if they didn't fall in line, the Federal Funding for their state would be cut severely.Also there would be a Democrat would be running against them in the next election. Sam Rayburn as Speaker did the same in the House.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

Re: Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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TrueTexan wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:43 pm
tonguengroover wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:12 am
YankeeTarheel wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:08 am If (when) our Democracy is destroyed, one man who could have prevented it, Joe "The DINO" Manchin, will be held accountable, putting his own seat ahead of the life of the nation. Manchin could and should, but won't, shut this whole nonsense down, passing the new voting rights act, the giant infrastructure bill, and replacing the Senate parliamentarian whose biases are clear.
Well my dear senator Kyrsten Sinema is no different. She keeps asking me for money like I gave her last election and I keep telling her to stuff it. She gets a weekly piece of my mind.
It just shows the Dem Leadership doesn't play hardball like the old line dems of yesteryear. When LBJ was Majority Leader of the senate in the 1950s and a Senator pulled crap like Manchin or Sinema is doing, they would be called into the Senate Cloak room by LBJ and told that if they didn't fall in line, the Federal Funding for their state would be cut severely.Also there would be a Democrat would be running against them in the next election. Sam Rayburn as Speaker did the same in the House.
This is the way
Redneck Liberal This Is The Way

Re: Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian

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And in response, Manchin, Sinema and Tester could walk across the aisle - they could become Republicans or at least Independents. Bernie Sanders is an Independent, he's not a Democrat but he caucuses with them like Angus King of Maine. Kamala Harris sitting on her perch can only cast a vote if the Senate is divided.

It could be far worse if three hardcore Trumpers were elected to Manchin (WV), Sinema (AZ) and Tester's (MT) senate seats. The purists in Congress get all emotional and don't think things through. Democrats and Republicans in Congress both suffer from that malady - they want it ALL and they want it NOW.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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