Tensions on Immigration, Discharge Petition Erupt in House GOP

Marsha Scott
May 11, 2018

"So I'm going to force the issue", Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., a leader of the effort to force immigration votes, said in an interview.

The effort has been led by moderate Republican Reps.

The rebel Republicans are using what's known on Capitol Hill as a discharge petition, which is a way for lawmakers to push bills to the floor over the objections of the majority party's leaders, who traditionally control the floor schedule. "I hope the discharge petition doesn't get the signatures and we continue to work the legislative process to solve this problem ..."

The DREAM Act aims to create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, while the U.S.A. Act, sponsored by Hurd and Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar, seeks to create a path to legalization for Dreamers while putting limits on sponsorship of parents once they become citizens. "Immigration has paralyzed the institution for too long", Curbelo said. "On the contrary, it seeks to diffuse power, and in doing so, to empower every member of the House so that they can play a meaningful role in this process", he said.

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.

Democrats have pushed this year to protect from deportation hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who've been shielded by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The immigration debate has always been left simmering after four immigration bills brought up for a vote in February failed to pass, with each measure falling short of the necessary 60 votes. The first would be a moderate proposal that would include DACA protections and some bipartisan border security measures. The number more than doubled to 17 by midafternoon.

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It isn't rare for members to file discharge petitions; what's rare is for the petitions to succeed. And Coffman could only find five House members to sign a discharge petition for a vote on a bill protecting some Dreamers for three years.

The unconventional plan has been in the works for several months, but it rapidly gained support in April after Ryan announced that he plans to retire at the end of 2018.

Even if a bill does pass the House, getting it signed into law would still require the approval of President Donald Trump, who has said he will only sign an immigration bill with a hardline framework that Democrats and some Republicans have rejected. It would take steps toward toughening border security but would not specifically authorize Trump's wall.

The effort meant that a congressional drive to help young "Dreamer" immigrants that seemed to have lost steam earlier this year could be resurrected in the run-up to November's elections for House and Senate control.

If all Democrats sign on, it would still take about two dozen Republicans. "Our job is to make sure all of the bills that all of us have worked really hard on have a voice on the floor".

The move comes almost three months after efforts to pass immigration legislation collapsed in the Senate and never even reached a vote in the House.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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