In a statement on Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Senate Democrats to override the parliamentarian and include citizenship pathway legislation into the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill.
Speaking both in Spanish and English, Ocasio-Cortez told immigration activists outside the Capitol on Tuesday, “This is our moment.”
“We do have a possibility,” she asserted. “Don’t let anyone tell you that the moment has gone, that the possibility has gone away, that the opportunity is not here, because that is not true.”
So far, the Senate parliamentarian has denied Senate Democrats’ requests to include a citizenship pathway for undocumented immigrants because it does not fall under the budgetary category of the bill.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, said the Senate Democrats should not be discouraged by this obstacle.
“The Senate needs to step up, override the parliamentarian,” she continued.
“We will not surrender our power to an unelected parliamentarian. We need to use our power to help the people.”
“Our demand is for the Senate to override the parliamentarian, include a full path to citizenship, and send it back to the House,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Despite her vote for the House-passed bill, Ocasio-Cortez maintained that if the bill were resent back to the House Democrats, they would include tougher immigration provisions.
According to her, Democrats “have a trifecta” — meaning they hold both houses of Congress as well as the White House — therefore, there is no reason for them not to pass these provisions.
While the Senate Democratic leadership seeks to pass the legislation by Christmas, immigration activists and some liberal House Democrats are pushing for its passage.
As of now, they have not secured the support of centrist Democrat Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. His vote would be vital to the bill’s passage because he opposes certain provisions. The Build Back Better Act is unlikely to be supported by Republicans.
Republicans have claimed that the bill will exacerbate rising inflation in attempts to sway Manchin’s opposition.
In a press conference on Tuesday, a group of Republican senators criticized the bill for the tax hikes that they said would kill jobs.
According to Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, “It’s interesting to me the number of times that I hear the story change as this bill moves through the House and now comes over to the Senate.”
“Originally, it was all about sustaining our economy,” Lankford explained.
“Then, this very hot inflation continues to rise, and now, suddenly, it is, ‘Well, this is going to help us fight inflation.’ And now we’re dealing with unemployment issues, and now the Democrats’ line changed to, ‘Well, now it’s going to help us with employment issues.’ In reality, what’s happening is, they’re trying to spend more, they’re trying to tax more, and they’re going to make a bad situation even worse in this process.”
Meanwhile, Chuck Grassley, a senator from Iowa, said the bill would “hit small businesses.”
“It’s going to be very detrimental, these tax provisions in this wild-eyed, tax-and-spending spree bill that could come before us,” Grassley added.