Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Senate Democratic leaders on Tuesday to override the parliamentarian and include a pathway to citizenship in President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better legislation.

In remarks to immigration activists outside the Capitol on Tuesday, the New York Democrat, speaking in both Spanish and English, said, “This is our moment.”


“We do have a possibility,” she said. “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.”

The Senate parliamentarian has thus far blocked Senate Democrats' efforts to include providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as ineligible in a reconciliation bill since it is not a budgetary matter. But Ocasio-Cortez said this should not be an obstacle for Senate Democrats.

“The Senate needs to step up, override the parliamentarian,” she said. “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.

Ocasio-Cortez voted for the House-passed version of the bill but argued that House Democrats would vote for stronger immigration provisions if it were sent back to them. She said that since Democrats “have a trifecta” — control of the House, Senate, and White House — they have no excuse not to pass these provisions.

The push from immigration activists and some liberal House Democrats comes as the Senate Democratic leadership seeks to pass the legislation by Christmas. They have yet to ensure the support of centrist West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, who opposes certain provisions in the bill and whose vote would be crucial to its passage, since no Republicans are expected to support the Build Back Better Act.

In an effort to try and win Manchin’s opposition, Senate Republicans have said the bill would make rising inflation worse. A group of Republican senators held a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday to highlight what they called job-killing tax hikes in the bill.

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said, “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 said. "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.”


Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley 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 said.