House Speaker Paul Ryan is fielding calls from fellow House Republicans to hold votes on a set of immigration bills. Until now, he had blocked a floor vote. A group of moderate Republicans published their petition on Wednesday.
The petition, filed Wednesday by Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and Will Hurd, R-Texas, would force a vote on bipartisan legislation unveiled in March that would allow for consideration of four different proposals, including a conservative immigration bill proposed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., a bipartisan version of the Dream Act and a bipartisan bill to protect people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while enhancing border security. It would also allow Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis, the ability to offer an immigration bill of his choosing. (NBC News)
"The message from the House Republicans that so far have signed the discharge petition is that we want action, that the president was right to call on Congress to act, and that we find it unacceptable that many months later, the House has done absolutely nothing," Curbelo said on CNN Thursday.
To succeed in their effort to circumvent GOP leadership and vote on the immigration measures, the group would need every Democratic vote, as well as 10 more Republicans. Here's where they stand now.
Add one more Republican to the group signing on to a discharge petition that would force an #immigration vote in the US House - first Democrat signed on this morning as well. pic.twitter.com/u2EGmT8Fd9— Katherine Gypson (@kgyp) May 10, 2018
With only months until the midterms, voters are wondering whether this is the right time for Republicans to pick this fight. DACA, in particular, is a testy issue. Trump ended the program, which delays deportation of children of illegal immigrants, last September. He gave Congress a six-month window to try and make it constitutional but they missed the deadline. Critics are accusing the administration of cruelly turning their backs on young adults who only know the U.S. as their home.
Speaker Ryan and other GOP leaders are standing by their decision to block votes on the immigration issues.
“I would like to have an immigration vote before the midterms,” he said. "But I want to have a vote on something that can make it into law. I don’t want to have show ponies.”
"I'm not a believer in discharge petitions because you're turning the floor over to Democrats," GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy added.