House GOP moderates inch closer to bringing DACA legislation to the floor
Republican moderates in the House are getting close to having enough signatures on a discharge petition that would bring immigration legislation to the floor.
While the leadership is adamantly opposed to having an immigration debate at this time, the moderates along with almost all Democrats are working to bypass House regular order and allow for a free wheeling debate on DACA and other immigration issues.
In the case of the discharge petition, moderate Republicans and most Democrats are hoping to advance H.Res 744, bipartisan legislation introduced in March. The bill would allow the full House to debate as amendments a range of four competing DACA proposals, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s “Securing America’s Future Act.”
House Republican leaders have worked for months to advance the Goodlatte bill, but concede they are far short of 218 Republican votes needed to send it to the Senate.
Two more bills that would advance to the floor during the debate are the bipartisan “Dream Act of 2017, introduced by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.,” as well as the “USA Act of 2018,” fronted by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif. That bill is essentially comprised of the DREAM Act with an extra $25 billion added for border security.
Ryan would also be able to choose any other single piece of legislation to plug the fourth slot in the "Queen of the Hill" approach.
Under Queen of the Hill rules, if more than one alternative obtains a majority, the winner is the one that receives the greatest number of votes. It is unclear if any of the competing measures would garner a majority.
Despite Ryan’s pessimism, Pelosi believes the Queen of the Hill approach would at minimum produce a bipartisan product to send to the Senate.
It is believed that the moderates are about 5 signatures away from being able to bring DACA legislation to the floor. If they manage to do that, they are likely to get it passed with all Democrats voting for it as well as a significant number of Republicans.
It is unknown how such legislation would be received by the Senate. Certainly, there will be conservative opposition, but the drive to do something for the so-called "DREAMers" will probably not be stopped in the Senate.
Would Trump sign it? Trump's unpredictability on the DACA issue notwithstanding, it may depend on how close it is to election day. This is what's giving Speaker Paul Ryan nightmares and why he is working so hard to prevent the discharge petition from becoming reality. He fears that passing DACA will depress turnout among conservative Republican voters, giving the Democrats a better shot at taking control of the House.
There are not that many working days left before Congress breaks for the election and Ryan's stalling tactics may not work.