Spending $3.5 trillion on a budget bill apparently doesn’t satisfy the progressive imperative. Democrats control the 50-50 Senate thanks only to the Vice President as tiebreaker, and they lack the votes to nuke the filibuster. Nevertheless, they insist that their mammoth budget bill must also include big policy changes, even if it takes bending Senate rules beyond recognition.
On Friday the Senate’s parliamentarian heard arguments from both sides on how much a reconciliation bill can rewrite immigration law. Democrats want to give green cards to as many as eight million people. Legalizing the so-called Dreamers who came here as children is a good idea on the merits, but is it a budget item? The obvious answer is no, and everybody knows it. Legalizing eight million people would have budgetary effects, but revenues and outlays are clearly beside the point.