Immigrant Protections in Democrats’ Plan Inch Forward in Senate

Senate Democrats moved through another procedural hurdle Tuesday in their effort to include immigration provisions in a sweeping social spending and tax bill they hope to pass next month.

Democratic aides met with the Senate parliamentarian to informally discuss a plan to give some undocumented immigrants temporary work permits and deportation protections, a pathway known as parole, according to a person familiar with the effort.

House lawmakers passed their version of the legislation (H.R. 5376) last week. The Senate meeting is the latest sign of life for immigration provisions that have repeatedly been declared dead prematurely.

Immigrants Gain Limited Protection, Backlog Help in Budget Bill

The immigration proposal is set to move as soon as next week to a formal “Byrd bath” process, the source said, referring to a procedure in which legislation is assessed to see if it complies with the Byrd rule requiring measures to be primarily budget related.

The parliamentarian will hear arguments from both parties on whether the immigration provision can be included under the budget reconciliation process Democrats are using to pursue their agenda.

The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, rejected Democrats’ first plan for expansive immigrant protections after a similar formal process earlier this fall. She rejected a second plan without a formal presentation.

A coalition of House Democrats this week called on Senate colleagues to bypass the parliamentarian if needed and pursue broader protections, included a path to citizenship for some immigrants.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at egilmer@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michaela Ross at mross@bgov.com; Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com

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