OnPolitics: Biden running out of time on immigration reform – USA TODAY

Happy Hump day, OnPolitics readers!

Last night, the House passed legislation raising the nation’s debt ceiling for several weeks, allowing the government to keep paying its bills into early December and avoiding the economic chaos that would come if the U.S. defaulted.

The measure, which lifts the ceiling by $480 billion, heads to President Joe Biden to sign.

If the U.S. had defaulted on its debt for the first time, the results could have led to a global recession, Treasury Department officials and experts have said. A tanked market would hurt 401(k)s and other investments.

But Congress isn’t done yet. They’ll be tasked with finding a more long-term solution when this deal ends in early December.

It’s Amy with today’s top news out of Washington.

Biden wants immigration reform. Advocates worry time is running out.

Congressional Democrats have faced several setbacks in their attempts to include immigration proposals in Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget package, and advocates said time is running out to pass comprehensive reform before next year’s midterm elections.

“We can’t wait. … Now’s the time that Congress and the president and vice president have to make citizenship for all a reality in this country,” said Alonzo Washington, chief of federal policy for CASA, an immigrant rights organization.

Activists are frustrated with the progress, questioning whether Democrats and Biden have the political will to deliver on the campaign promises they made related to immigration.

In their effort to include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the budget package, Senate Democrats presented two proposals last month to Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough. MacDonough, a nonpartisan, unelected staff member, determines whether policies included in the reconciliation package abide by the Senate’s Byrd Rule, which states only policies that have a direct impact on the federal budget can be included.

The first proposal includes a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, essential workers,  immigrants with Temporary Protected Status and undocumented individuals who were brought to the USA as children. MacDonough rejected the proposal, saying in her ruling that the policy impact outweighed the budget impact.

Days after that ruling, Democrats presented MacDonough with a second plan that would have changed an immigration registry date that could have led to a pathway to citizenship for millions. That, too, was rejected.

The options to move forward on immigration are limited, and many advocates and some congressional Democrats see the reconciliation process as the best option in a divided Congress.

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Archbishop makes religious exemption for vaccines front-and-center for the military

The Archbishop for the Military Services said Catholic U.S. service members who object to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine based on their conscience should not be punished.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio said in prepared statement on Tuesday “no one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience.”

At the same time, he affirmed Vatican guidance that the COVID-19 vaccine is morally permissible within the faith. That, however, does not mean a Catholic could not form “a sincerely held religious belief that receiving the vaccine would violate his conscience. It does not,” he said.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered U.S. service members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they receive an exemption. Those who refuse could be discharged.

The Catholic Church has not opposed the COVID-19 vaccine. In a note to Catholics in December 2020, the church outlined the “moral aspects” of the vaccine based on the use of cells from aborted fetuses used to develop them.

“It’s a bit strange, because humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines,” the pope said, noting that children for decades have been vaccinated against measles, mumps and polio “and no one said anything.”

Today, William Shatner, known for his role in the original “Star Trek,” became the oldest person to launch into space. Live long and prosper! 🖖 — Amy