House Adopts Budget Resolution, Greenlights Fall Amnesty Battle
FAIR TAKE: Special Edition | August 2021
On August 24, the House passed a Senate-approved budget resolution with amnesty instructions by a vote of 220-212. This means that the budget reconciliation process, a mechanism that allows the Democrat-controlled House and Senate to pass spending legislation by simple majority, is officially underway.
Democrats in both chambers advertised this $3.5 trillion blueprint as a desperately needed domestic spending package, even though it is nothing more than a wish list for their party’s radical fringe. A separate, bipartisan infrastructure package moved through the Senate earlier this month and includes actual funding for hard infrastructure improvements to our country’s roads, bridges, harbors, and airports. However, House Democrats refuse to actually consider it until reconciliation is in the rearview mirror.
Now, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have broad instructions to draft an amnesty for as many illegal aliens as they see fit. Congressional Democrats have clearly stated that the amnesty must include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries, farmworkers, and those working in “essential industries,” which includes nearly almost every occupation under the sun. It is estimated that up to 10 million illegal aliens could be put on a path to citizenship.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) directed the Senate’s committees to prepare their legislative text before September 15. Once the bill is finally drafted, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough will eventually rule on the contents of the bill. MacDonough is a former immigration lawyer who worked for the Justice Department. Under the Senate’s “Byrd rule,” policy changes made through the reconciliation process must have a direct effect on spending and revenue. For example, in a previous reconciliation battle dealing with COVID-19 stimulus funding, the parliamentarian ruled that a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour was in violation of the Byrd rule.
MacDonough could rule that the citizenship giveaway to millions of illegal aliens is not germane, and strip it from the final bill. On the other hand, she could accept the Democrats’ argument that amnestying millions of illegal aliens would impact the federal budget in such a way that it merits inclusion. We will not know until after September 15, and likely not until early October.
This push by Congressional Democrats to provide a pathway to citizenship for around 10 million people is the largest amnesty threat facing our country since the 2013 Gang of Eight bill. If the parliamentarian allows its inclusion, and Democrats keep their razor-thin majorities in the Senate and House together, then tens of millions of illegal aliens will receive green cards without a single vote from the minority party. The stakes could not be any higher.