- President Joe Biden said Thursday he supports passing immigration reform without GOP support.
- Democrats are hoping to pass a $3.5 trillion spending plan through reconciliation.
- It’s unclear what immigration reform measures are being weighed for inclusion.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Thursday, President Joe Biden said he supports including immigration reform measures in the $3.5 trillion spending bill that Democrats hope to pass without any Republican support via the process of reconciliation.
Biden supports creating a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers or immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but said he’s unsure if it would be included in the bill, according to Reuters.
Biden’s remarks followed a meeting at the White House with Vice President Kamala Harris and a group of Democratic lawmakers to discuss the DACA program, which prevents the deportation of young immigrants.
Sen. Dick Durbin told reporters that Democrats have an opportunity to pass immigration reform measures and that Biden “made it clear to us, unequivocally clear that he stands with our efforts.”
The DACA discussions followed a ruling last month by a judge in Texas that found the program unlawful, causing the suspension of new applications.
Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal advanced in the Senate Wednesday, with 17 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats in supporting it. In addition to the bipartisan plan, which will likely have a final vote in the next week or two, Democrats are hoping to pass a bigger infrastructure bill through reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a legislative tactic that allows lawmakers to pass bills that concern government spending with only a simple majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster.
The $3.5 trillion spending package Democrats have proposed would include new social initiatives that Republicans opposed in the bipartisan bill. The initiatives include a national paid-leave program and affordable childcare, among other items.
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig in June that Democrats were considering including immigration reform in the bill.
“Anytime there’s been a CBO examination on immigration reform, it produces a significant increase in the GDP without really costing much money,” he said, referring to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
It’s unclear what immigration reform measures would be included in the bill.
In March, House Democrats passed two immigration measures to establish pathways to citizenship for Dreamers and migrant farmworkers. Neither has passed in the Senate, despite a Democratic majority, because they lack the 10 Republican votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
The reconciliation bill would need all 50 Democratic senators on board to pass, but Sen. Kristen Sinema of Arizona said Wednesday she would not support a bill with a $3.5 trillion price tag, setting up the bill to be scaled back.
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