Biden says he supports including immigration in the Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending plan without GOP support

·3 min read
Biden
President Joe Biden. Evan Vucci/AP
  • President Joe Biden on Thursday said he supported addressing immigration without GOP support.

  • Democrats hope to pass a $3.5 trillion spending plan through the process known as reconciliation.

  • It's unclear what immigration measures are being weighed for inclusion.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Speaking with reporters at the White House on Thursday, President Joe Biden said he supported including immigration measures in the $3.5 trillion spending bill that Democrats could pass without any Republican support via the process known as reconciliation.

Biden supports creating a pathway to citizenship for the group of young immigrants who received protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but he said he was unsure whether that 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 DACA, which prevents the deportation of some unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the US as children.

Read more: Democrats are readying $3.5 trillion in spending. Meet 13 experts deciding who gets the money.

Sen. Dick Durbin told reporters that Democrats had an opportunity to pass immigration 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.

A separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal advanced in the Senate on Wednesday, with 17 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats in supporting it. In addition to the bipartisan plan, which will most 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 social initiatives that Republicans opposed in the bipartisan bill, such as a national paid-leave program and affordable childcare.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told Insider's Joseph Zeballos-Roig in June that Democrats were considering addressing immigration 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 nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

It's unclear what immigration measures would be included in the bill.

In March, House Democrats passed two immigration measures meant to establish pathways to citizenship for DACA recipients 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 to pass, but Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona on Wednesday said she would not support a bill with a $3.5 trillion price tag, setting up the bill to be scaled back.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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