President Joe Biden on Thursday said he would support including immigration reform in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget bill, The Hill reports.
Biden met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday and told reporters afterward that “we should include in the reconciliation bill the immigration proposal.”
The statement came after Biden waffled on the issue, telling reporters “it remains to be seen” whether immigration would be included in the bill, which Democrats plan to pass without Republican support in the Senate using the budget reconciliation process while also advancing a bipartisan infrastructure package.
The White House said in a statement on Thursday that the Biden and Vice President Harris at the meeting "expressed their strong support for including immigration reform in upcoming reconciliation legislation to enable Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers and essential workers to gain long-awaited pathways to citizenship."
Budget reconciliation only hope:
Immigration reform has languished in the Senate since the Bush administration despite frequent bipartisan efforts to tackle the issue. Hispanic Caucus members stressed at the meeting that a budget reconciliation bill that Democrats can pass with a simple majority is the only hope for advancing immigration reform through Congress.
"We talked about the urgency of now, and that this is the time to really make a 110 percent effort," Caucus Chairman Raúl Ruiz told The Hill.
California Rep. Linda Sanchez said Biden “agrees that the best path at this point is to try to use reconciliation as a vehicle for moving immigration pieces, and as robust as the votes will bear.”
Will it survive?:
The budget reconciliation bill must only include measures that have a budgetary impact, a dubious distinction that is decided by the Senate parliamentarian, who earlier this year rejected Democratic attempts to include a minimum wage increase and other measures in their Covid relief bill.
Democrats want to have the Congressional Budget Office put a price tag on legislation that would both protect the DACA population and provide a pathway to citizenship for migrant workers and those with Temporary Protected Status.
It remains to be seen whether the parliamentarian will allow Democrats to include the provision but New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez stressed Thursday that there is no Plan B.
"If we don't have reconciliation,” he said, “I'm not sure that there's a pathway forward.”