Once again, the Senate parliamentarian, a little understood, nonpartisan, nonelected government official, has made a decision affecting millions of lives.
A Sept. 19, 2021, ruling by Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate’s nonpartisan interpreter of its sometimes enigmatic rules, blocked a plan to use the $3.5 trillion spending bill as a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Under the rejected plan, that was proposed by Democrats, millions of green cards would have been provided for several groups of immigrants including young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children (typically called "Dreamers"); those under temporary potected status (refugees of natural disasters or armed conflict); essential workers and farm workers.
Instead, the parliamentarian decided that the immigration provisions cannot be included in the enormous funding bill that is protected from GOP filibusters. Without filibuster protection, the immigration provisions have no chance of passing in a deadlocked, 50-50 Senate — which is what we've got now.
We know. You've got questions. Like, what's a Senate parliamentarian? How'd she get that job? And all that power?