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Working together on a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers

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Washington is broken. That’s not a campaign slogan or hyper-partisan rhetoric, that is a fact. While gridlock plagues our system of governance, there are rare occasions when our elected officials rise above the partisan gamesmanship and decide to take bold action. There are issues that shake Congress out of complacency and require urgent collaboration. Providing a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers is one of those issues.

That’s why our bipartisan coalition has rallied around the Queen-of-the-Hill rule, offered by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), which would force a debate on four competing measures to permanently solve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) issue. Members of the New Democrat Coalition and the Republican Tuesday Group, legislators dedicated to the core principles of governing, came together to support this rule. At a time when civil, bipartisan meetings in the House are rare, our two groups still frequently discuss ways we can make our government work better. We all agree this is a problem Congress needs to address, and doing so is a step in the right direction to get government working again.

{mosads}While members of the House on both sides of the aisle have spent plenty of time debating the merits of the DACA program in the newspaper pages and during cable TV appearances, we have yet to have an open debate in the People’s House on an issue that we know the American people want us to solve. We were elected to serve as the voices of our constituencies, and yet we have failed to act as those voices on one of the most critical issues of our time. That is why we must immediately take up the Denham rule and allow a free and open debate to take place in front of the American people.

If passed, the Denham rule would bring up for debate the Securing America’s Future Act introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the Dream Act of 2018, introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), the bipartisan USA Act introduced by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), and a bill of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) choosing which could be the president’s own immigration proposal. The purpose of the Denham rule is to allow all points of view, all potential solutions to this problem, to receive a fair and open debate and a vote. The proposal that receives the most votes while also meeting the minimum requirement for a majority of votes in the House will be adopted. We have waited too long at this point and time for action is now.

Public opinion on this issue has been consistent since the DACA program was terminated – Americans on both sides of the political spectrum want Congress to enact a solution to this problem. As members of Congress, it’s time we do our jobs and listen to the American people. Rep. Denham’s Queen-of-the-Hill rule allows all sides of this debate to air their arguments in the House chamber and let the representatives of the people work their will. We cannot stand by and let court ruling after court ruling dictate the futures of these young people. The president gave Congress a mandate to act, and it’s time we do just that.

Himes is New Democrat Coalition chair and Katko is co-chair of the Republican Tuesday Group.

Tags Bob Goodlatte DACA Dreamers Jeff Denham Lucille Roybal-Allard Paul Ryan Pete Aguilar Will Hurd

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