Ilhan Omar Says Biden, Schumer ‘Can And Should Ignore’ Senate Parliamentarian On Pathway To Citizenship

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said Sunday Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden should “ignore” the ruling by the Senate parliamentarian that found Democrats can’t include a pathway to citizenship in reconciliation.

“This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation,” Omar tweeted. “Sen. Schumer and the White House can and should ignore it.”

“We can’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to do the right thing.”

Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, the official advisor to the Senate, wrote Sunday Democrats could not include in their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package a plan for citizenship for roughly eight million illegal immigrants. Reconciliation package’s are protected from a potential Republican filibuster, needing only a simple majority of 50 votes to pass.

MacDonough said the “policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” according to The New York Times (NYT) which obtained a copy of the decision.

The plan is estimated to cost $105 billion or more, according to a slideshow presented by Democrats obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller.

The plan would allow illegal immigrants to be eligible for citizenship if they passed a health and background check and paid a $1,500 fee, according to the NYT. If passed, the plan would cost roughly $139 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, according to CBS News.

While Schumer himself called the decision “deeply” disappointing, Schumer does not have the authority to override MacDonough’s rule, despite Omar’s calls. Vice President Kamala Harris holds the authority to override the decision.

While she has yet to comment on whether that’s up for consideration, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said in February Harris would not override MacDonough if she had decided to remove the minimum wage hike from the coronavirus relief package. (RELATED: ‘An Impossible Position’: Moderate Democrat Won’t Vote For Reconciliation In Committee Unless She Sees Bill ‘In Its Entirety’)

“We’re going to honor the rules of the Senate and work within that system to get this bill passed,” Klain said, according to The Hill.

The White House, however, is looking toward Congressional Democrats to introduce a new proposal to MacDonough about immigration, a White House spokesperson said, according to Fox News.

“The President has made very clear that he supports efforts by Congress to include a pathway to citizenship in the reconciliation package and is grateful to Congressional leadership for all of the work they are doing to make this a reality. The Parliamentarian’s ruling is deeply disappointing but we fully expect our partners in the Senate to come back with alternative proposals for the Parliamentarian to consider.”

Republicans have criticized the amnesty proposal, with Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham telling Fox News in July that adding amnesty to reconciliation would be disastrous.

“If you give one person legal status there will be a run on our border like you have never seen before … the dumbest idea in the history of the Senate, the history of the White House. It will lead to the breakdown of law and order beyond what you see today.”

Graham reiterated the same sentiment Sunday night while applauding MacDonough’s ruling.

“I believe using the reconciliation process to provide legal status to illegal immigrants would be a disaster. It would have led to an increased run on the border – beyond the chaos we already have there today.”