Senate Passes $3.5 Trillion Budget Proposal, Including Plan for Pathway to Citizenship
Members of the United We Dream organization participate in a demonstration outside of the U.S. District Courthouse on July 19, 2021 in Houston, Texas, calling for a clear path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants. A summary of the recently passed budget resolution by the Senate also states it will provide green cards “to millions of immigrant workers and families.” (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
From News Dispatches
WASHINGTON — Democrats pushed a $3.5 trillion framework for bolstering family services, health, and environment programs through the Senate early Aug. 11, advancing President Joe Biden’s expansive vision for reshaping federal priorities just hours after handing him a companion triumph on a hefty infrastructure package, according to the Associated Press.
Lawmakers approved Democrats’ budget resolution on a party-line 50-49 vote, a crucial step for a president and party set on training the government’s fiscal might at assisting families, creating jobs and fighting climate change. Higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations would pay for much of it. Passage came despite an avalanche of Republican amendments intended to make their rivals pay a price in next year’s elections for control of Congress.
House leaders announced their chamber will return from summer recess in two weeks to vote on the fiscal blueprint, which contemplates disbursing the $3.5 trillion over the next decade. Final congressional approval, which seems certain, would protect a subsequent bill actually enacting the outline’s detailed spending and tax changes from a Republican filibuster in the 50-50 Senate, delays that would otherwise kill it.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., once a progressive voice in Congress’ wilderness and now a national figure wielding legislative clout, said the measure would help children, families, the elderly and working people — and more.
The Senate turned to the budget minutes after it approved the other big chunk of Biden’s objectives, a compromise $1 trillion bundle of transportation, water, broadband and other infrastructure projects. That measure, passed 69-30 with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell among the 19 Republicans backing it, also needs House approval.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., assured progressives that Congress will pursue sweeping initiatives going beyond the infrastructure compromise. The budget blueprint envisions creating new programs including tuition-free pre-kindergarten and community college, paid family leave and a Civilian Climate Corps whose workers would tackle environmental projects.
Millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally would have a new chance for citizenship, and there would be financial incentives for states to adopt more labor-friendly laws.
According to thehill.com, the budget resolution package asks lawmakers to chart a pathway to citizenship for millions of people while investing in border security.
The package does not specify how many people or which groups would be covered by the legislation, instead directing the committee to provide “lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants.” A summary of the bill also states it will provide green cards “to millions of immigrant workers and families.”
House Democrats have floated a plan that would cover not only Dreamers brought to the U.S. as children but also migrant farmworkers, workers deemed essential during the pandemic and those who already hold Temporary Protected Status after being unable to return to their countries, said thehill.com report.
In all, Democrats could make around 10 million people eligible for a path to citizenship.
India-West Staff Reporter adds: A statement by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, the largest immigrant rights organization in California, applauded the Senate for taking the historic step to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of Americans in waiting.
Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director, said: “We rejoice as we are one step closer to ensuring immigrants and their families have the recognition and pathway to citizenship that they have long deserved.
“A path to citizenship in this budget resolution is a recognition that we belong and have belonged for a long time.
“Last night we overcame a significant hurdle, and we have been waiting for 35 years for this moment. When the administration says Build Back Better, we cannot do that without immigrants. The House must pass now pass this resolution with funding for legalization intact. This is not just for the future of immigrants, it is for the future of the entire nation. Legalization makes sense morally and economically, and a path to citizenship is good for all of us who make the U.S. home.”
(With AP reports)