GOP Immigration Moderates Say They'll Force House Votes On Legislation

by Garry Watts May 11, 2018, 0:45
GOP Immigration Moderates Say They'll Force House Votes On Legislation

The lawmakers are hoping use a discharge petition, sponsored by Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo, that would allow them to circumvent House Speaker Paul Ryan's tight grip on the legislative process.

To get around Ryan, lawmakers of both parties have resorted to have resorted to so-called "discharge petitions", which force a House vote if signed by 218 House Members.

On Wednesday, they outlined a plan to force a debate in the full House sometime this summer on four competing bills that would give Dreamers varying levels of legal immigration status, with some of the bills also expanding security along the southwestern border with Mexico.

In a meeting Tuesday with Ryan, Denham said he told the speaker he had the backing he needs.

But Republican immigration moderates wary of being politically exposed if the House abandons the issue have continued pushing leaders for votes, and they seemed to have momentum in their favor Wednesday.

There are now 19 House Republicans, of 236 total, who have formally signed a petition that would force a debate on immigration legislation.

If the petition garners enough support, it could see a floor debate on four immigration proposals held as early as June.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said on Wednesday that GOP leaders would "continue to work with our members to find a solution that can both pass the House and get the president's signature".

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Denham introduced his proposal in March and has 248 co-sponsors, including virtually all Democrats and more than 50 Republicans.

The fourth bill would be left up to Ryan to decide, an allowance that Republicans behind the petition say shows they are making an effort to be deferential to GOP leadership.

Congress has been unable to agree on how to respond to President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allowed some people brought to the USA illegally as children to apply for protection from deportation. Members of the majority party seldom back such petitions for that very reason, and few succeed. That program lets immigrants brought to the US illegally as children stay in the country for two-year, renewable periods.

Trump ended DACA, created under President Barack Obama, in March, though federal judges have kept it functioning during legal battles expected to last months.

The liberal "Dream Act" would give Dreamers a chance at citizenship. So far Congress has failed to come up with any legislation that would satisfy those demands while still getting the necessary votes from moderates in the House and Democrats in the Senate, where bipartisan support is needed to avoid a filibuster. "My rule is about coming together in a bipartisan manner to find a compromise on a permanent solution for America's Dreamers and responsible border security". Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., would offer a way for Dreamers to remain in the US legally but not offer citizenship.

Trump has said he won't sign new immigration protections without funding for the wall and greater border security.

The latest effort, called "Queen of the Hill, " would involve votes on four different Dreamer bills, including one to be offered by Ryan.

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