White House pours cold water on pursuing immigration via fast-track budget process

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Biden wants to win bipartisan support for immigration legislation, after lawmakers had suggested Mr. Biden was open to leveraging a fast-track process that would allow Democrats to pass a bill without Republican support.

“He believes that modernizing our immigration system and putting measures in place to address that should warrant bipartisan support,” Ms. Psaki told reporters at the White House. “So his view is that right now, the conversation should not be about a reconciliation process — it should be about moving forward in a bipartisan manner.”

Mr. Biden met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at the White House on Tuesday.

According to lawmakers, there was discussion about using the fast-track budget process, known as reconciliation, to muscle through immigration legislation.

Rep. Darren Soto, Florida Democrat, said Mr. Biden indicated that he would support passing immigration bills via reconciliation if Democrats couldn’t win support from at least 10 Republican senators to thwart a possible filibuster in the 50-50 Senate, according to Politico.

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden believes there should be bipartisan support for immigration, an issue that Congress has tried — and failed — to tackle comprehensively for years.

“Of course, members are going to propose a range of mechanics for moving things forward,” she said.

It’s unclear exactly what could be allowed under Senate rules, which say reconciliation is supposed to be used for budget-related items.

Democrats used the process to muscle through the president’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without Republican support.

But as that legislation moved through Congress, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would run afoul of chamber rules.

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