The Senate voted on Wednesday to overturn a Biden administration rule that allows legal immigrants to use welfare without having to worry about consequences to their future status.
The 50-47 vote sends the measure to the House, where it is also likely to pass, given the GOP majority.
But the White House has sworn to veto the measure, and the Senate vote is well below the tally that would be needed to override the president.
Yet the vote poses yet another rebuke to Mr. Biden both on his broad regulatory agenda and on immigration in particular.
US immigration law for over a century has been based on the idea that immigrants should pay their own way, including not becoming a “public charge” by taking welfare or other government assistance. . Those who violate the standard of public office may be denied the opportunity to become citizens.
The current law was written in 1996, but it left it up to the administration to decide what counted as government support.
The Biden rule, finalized last year, would say that only a few cash welfare programs would count against a legal immigrant.
It reverses Trump policy that was more expansive, including the use of Medicaid or public housing assistance as strikes against legal immigrants.
The Trump policy was suspended by a federal judge before denying any immigrants a chance to gain citizenship, and the Biden rule officially supersedes the Trump version.
The White House defended its version in its veto statement on Wednesday, saying Mr Trump’s policy had made even some US citizens who live with immigrants in their homes wary of applying for benefits for which they were eligible.
Officials said the rule was drafted to help advance Mr. Biden’s goal of welcoming immigrants.
“This is an important step in redressing the damage resulting from the chilling effect of the Public Charge Rule 2019 and provides a clear, comprehensive and fair standard for assessing whether a non-citizen is likely to become a charge. public,” the White House said. .