Pelosi: GOP discharge-petition holdouts helping Ryan ‘save face’

Pelosi: GOP discharge-petition holdouts helping Ryan ‘save face’
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDems, health groups demand immigrant children be quickly reunited with families Hardline immigration bill fails in the House Pelosi: GOP immigration bill is 'a compromise with the devil' MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that some GOP lawmakers are withholding their support for a discharge petition on immigration in order not to embarrass Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer House approves five-year farm bill House postpones vote on compromise immigration bill MORE (R-Wis.).

Pelosi said she believes Republicans have the 25 GOP lawmakers they essentially need to force a vote on legislation to protect “Dreamers,” people brought to the United States illegally as children.

“They’re close to the number, [and] the prediction is that they will get the number,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.

“But in order to save face for the Speaker, [they want to] let him have it his discretion to bring it up.”


Ryan and GOP leaders are scrambling to quell the revolt over immigration.

Twenty Republicans have so far signed on to the discharge petition to force votes salvaging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE is fighting to dismantle.  

The petition requires 218 signatures — the House majority — to force floor action, meaning at least five more Republicans would need to sign on to compel votes against the wishes of GOP leaders, assuming all House Democrats back it.

Discharge petitions are almost never successful, since they require members of the majority party to buck their own party brass and force votes on legislation that leaders would prefer to keep off the floor. And Ryan on Wednesday warned his troops against the discharge petition strategy, arguing that it empowers the minority Democrats.

“We do not agree with discharge petitions; we think they are a mistake. They dis-unify our majority,” Ryan said during his own press conference in the Capitol. “Members of our majority fall into different camps, and they want a solution on DACA, and they want a solution on the border and the security issues, so we want to accommodate all of that.”

Several hours later, Reps. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump to meet House GOP as backlash to 'zero tolerance' policy grows The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Defiant Trump meets with House GOP amid border blowback Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems see midterm advantage in new ObamaCare fight MORE (R-N.Y.) and Dave TrottDavid Alan TrottGOP doubles female recruits for congressional races GOP split on immigration is a crisis for Ryan’s team Pelosi: GOP discharge-petition holdouts helping Ryan ‘save face’ MORE (R-Mich.) defied those warnings and signed the petition.

The issue of immigration has divided the Republicans for years, pitting centrist lawmakers who support protecting certain immigrants without legal status against conservative hard-liners who back a tougher enforcement regime and the mass deportation of millions of people.

Those divisions have been forced front-and-center in a tough election year for the Republicans, when a number of GOP centrists — particularly those from districts with significant Hispanic populations — have grown increasingly concerned that GOP inaction on DACA poses a threat to their reelection. Aside from Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloHouse GOP leaders push immigration vote to next week House GOP discharge petition supporter says he likely won’t sign a second one Hardline immigration bill fails in the House MORE (R-Fla.), who sponsored the petition, the Republicans leading the DACA charge include Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamHouse GOP discharge petition supporter says he likely won’t sign a second one Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill MORE (R-Calif.), David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe Hill's 12:30 Report Cook Political Report shifts 5 races after California, NJ primaries There is no blue wave in California MORE (R-Calif.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHillicon Valley: Justices rule states can force online retailers to collect sales tax | Google's new privacy features | White House plan aims to tackle cyber workforce gap House GOP discharge petition supporter says he likely won’t sign a second one Hoyer: GOP centrists 'sold out' Dreamers MORE (R-Texas), all of whom are facing tough reelections in heavily Hispanic districts. 

Seeking a solution, Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally Rally crowd chants 'CNN sucks' after Trump rips media Trump's America fights back MORE (R-Calif.) huddled with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday in search of an immigration bill that could thread the needle of divergent ideologies and become law. They have a tough job ahead of them, as the bill will need both the support of Democrats — who could use a Senate filibuster to block it — and the president, who has been all over the board when it comes to what immigration measures he’d sign. 

Pelosi on Wednesday promoted a bipartisan proposal — sponsored by Hurd and Rep. Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarImmigration compromise underlines right’s clout Pelosi, Dems hammer GOP for ‘derailing’ DACA debate Hoyer warns GOP: Don’t dabble with DACA compromise bill MORE (D-Calif.) — that would combine Dreamer protections with new funding to bolster border security. The bill is one of four proposals that would be forced to the floor if Curbelo’s discharge petition proves successful.

Ryan has opposed bringing Hurd-Aguilar to the floor, saying the move is futile since Trump won’t sign it. But Pelosi rejected that argument on Tuesday, noting that Trump has urged Congress to protect the DACA beneficiaries.

“They don’t know that the president will veto the Hurd-Aguilar bill. I don’t know if the president knows if he would veto the Hurd-Aguilar bill,” Pelosi said. 

“At the time he said he wanted to get something done,” she added. “I don’t know who cancels that out at the White House, but what he says publicly is encouraging, gives us hope, and then somebody puts the nix on it at the White House.”