Pelosi: Dems may try to force House vote on Senate immigration reform bill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told donors at an Organizing for Action (OFA) event Monday night that Democratic leadership in the House was weighing a discharge petition that would bring the Senate immigration bill directly to the floor for a vote.

Pelosi was asked about the legislative strategy during a dinner with about 70 supporters of the advocacy group, which grew out of the president's reelection campaign. She said leadership was still deciding whether to press forward with the legislative maneuver, noting that doing so would take 30 legislative days.

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With a discharge petition, Pelosi could force a House vote on the Senate bill by gathering 218 signatures — meaning she'd need just 18 Republicans to sign on. That proposition has the support many Democrats, who see the odds of a comprehensive immigration bill with a pathway to citizenship emerging organically from the House as low.

But the maneuver is seen as a direct rebuke of House leadership, and it would be tough to find that many GOP defectors who both support the bill and would be willing to upset leadership.

In an interview with Talking Points Memo earlier this month, Pelosi indicated she was shying away from that strategy. 

“I fully subscribe to the idea that we should have a House bill … we shouldn’t have to just accept the Senate bill,” Pelosi said. “However, there is a Senate bill. And that gives leverage to those who say, ‘Now pass something in the House. Pass something and go to conference.’ If you don’t, there will be strong public sentiment, to take up, give us a vote, on the Senate bill.”

Pelosi also told donors at the OFA event, "we can win the House" in next year's midterm elections, and that she believed Democrats had a good bench of candidates.