By Mike Lillis - 03/25/14 11:16 AM EDT
House Democrats on Wednesday will introduce a discharge petition designed to force Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to vote this year on comprehensive immigration reform.
The effort comes closely on the heels of two other discharge petitions pushed by House Democrats this year – one to raise the minimum wage and the other to extend emergency unemployment benefits.
None of those petitions, which require 218 signatures, is expected to win enough GOP support to compel Boehner to bring the bills to the floor. But Democrats are hoping the additional pressure will highlight for voters the stark differences between the two parties when it comes to Washington's role in addressing the nation's troubles, particularly the ongoing jobs crisis in the wake of the Great Recession.
Lending the Democrats some help, the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday estimated that the House immigration reform bill would reduce deficit spending by $197 billion in the next 10 years, and by an additional $700 billion in the decade to follow.
Democrats were quick to cite those numbers on Tuesday. But they also emphasized the personal stories of families being separated under the current system, and they accused Boehner of exacerbating the problem with his refusal to bring a bill to the floor.
"They are co-conspirators in tearing families apart," said Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.). "To do nothing is actually to contribute to the problem."