WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators are still working on their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package on Thursday. Democrats are addressing one of their top priorities in a new way: immigration reform.
After the U.S. Senate parliamentarian ruled a path to citizenship for the estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants could not be included in the Senate’s reconciliation package, now, a new push. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are working behind the scenes this week to include other, more narrow immigration policies.
“We intend to get that part done, and I think there’s a way to address the parliamentarian’s concerns,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
Sources familiar with those talks tell us that could include focusing more on the registry process, and eliminating other procedural barriers instead of creating a direct pathway. The previous proposal nixed by the parliamentarian allowed for “Dreamers,” T.P.S. recipients, and essential workers to achieve lawful permanent resident status.
But, reconciliation is a budget tool, meaning Democrats will have find an economic link to include any sort of immigration reform.
“Believe me, we’re not going to let the matter drop,” Hirono said on Wednesday. “So, we’re pushing ahead with another proposal.”
Meanwhile, other senators are shoring up one of President Biden’s top goals for the American Families Plan: hundreds of billions of dollars for home and community-based services.
“For seniors, they get skilled care in nursing homes,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). “We want to make sure people can get the same kind of care – skilled care – in a home-based setting.”
Casey has introduced legislation that would invest in home care workers and expand access to quality care for seniors and people with disabilities. More than 820,000 Americans are waiting for H.C.B.S. care, according to a statement from his office.
“They don’t want to be limited to just the choice of a nursing home,” he said.
As those talks continue, a bigger challenge for supporters of the plan: courting moderates who say the $3.5 trillion price tag is simply too expensive.