FEATURED:

GOP lawmakers back discharge petition to force immigration votes

GOP lawmakers back discharge petition to force immigration votes
© Getty Images

Fifteen House Republicans have signed on to a discharge petition filed Wednesday that is intended to force votes on a series of immigration measures — including legislation to protect so-called Dreamers.

The discharge petition, which is intended to force legislation from a committee, would lead to a floor vote if a majority of House members sign on to it.

Democrats have been pressing for an immigration vote in the House and would be expected to back the petition. If all House Democrats sign it, it would need 25 Republican signatories to force a vote. 

ADVERTISEMENT

GOP Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDems see blue 'tsunami' in House as Senate path narrows GOP spokeswoman says Republicans will lose House seats in midterms Cook Political Report shifts 7 more races towards Dems MORE (Fla.) filed the motion, and was quickly joined by Republican Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamDems target small cluster of states in battle for House Poll: Dems lead in 5 critical California House seats Dems announce third-quarter fundraising bonanza MORE (Calif.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters for midterms Election Countdown: Florida candidates face new test from hurricane | GOP optimistic about expanding Senate majority | Top-tier Dems start heading to Iowa | Bloomberg rejoins Dems | Trump heads to Pennsylvania rally MORE (Texas), Mario Díaz Balart (Fla.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoIn quest for majority, Dems swarm McCarthy’s home state Dems make big play for House in California Immigration overhaul on life support in the House MORE (Calif.) as initial sponsors.

All five are in competitive races this year. The Cook Political Report lists Curbelo's and Denham's races as tossups.

By midafternoon, 15 Republicans had signed the petition.
 
 
They were followed by Reps. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentMidterms put GOP centrists in peril House GOP group cuts financial support for Coffman, Bishop GOP House candidate placed on leave from longtime position after sexual misconduct allegation MORE (Pa.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonMidterms put GOP centrists in peril GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests MORE (R-Mich.), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertHow the Trump tax law passed: GOP adds sweeteners House battlefield expands as ad wars hit new peak Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (Wash.), Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanGroup begins 'Nuns on the Bus' tour to protest Trump tax law ahead of midterms Election Countdown: Dems raising millions in fight for House | Trump attacks potential challengers | GOP finalizes 2020 convention plans | Dems see Kavanaugh fight driving women voters to the polls | Bloomberg spending big for Senate Dems GOP sacrifices women and House Republicans with Kavanaugh plan MORE (Colo.), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsElection Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B GOP Rep. Chris Collins raised from within district after indictment Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach MORE (N.Y.), John FasoJohn James FasoRepublicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel Midterms in 2018 become most expensive in history Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms MORE (N.Y.), Mark AmodeiMark Eugene AmodeiRevitalize our defense industrial base with mine permitting reform To reduce China's leverage, rebuild America's minerals supply chain GOP staves off immigration revolt — for now MORE (Nev.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRyan signals support for sanctions if Saudis killed Khashoggi Ryan on Trump’s ‘Horseface’ tweet: There’s no place for that type of language Cuomo: Driver in deadly limo crash did not have proper license MORE (R-N.Y.).
 
Republicans who support immigration reform have grown increasingly frustrated at leadership over inaction on the issue, and the filing of the petition is an attempt to go around leadership to force a vote on the floor.

The discharge petition would specifically force a vote on a "Queen of the Hill" rule that would lead to votes on a series of competing immigration proposals. Which ever measure won the most votes would be the legislation approved by the House.  

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyGOP targets likely Dem committee chairmen in midterm push The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms Conservatives fear Trump will cut immigration deal MORE (R-Calif.) dismissed the Queen of the Hill proposal when it was presented. That proposal garnered 248 co-sponsors, including 52 Republicans.

If the discharge petition does get 218 votes — per House rules, a discharge needs a majority of total membership regardless of vacancies — seven legislative days would have to pass before a floor vote. 

The House would then vote on the measure on either the second or fourth Monday of the month. No House votes are scheduled on a second or fourth Monday until July 23.
 
In rejecting the earlier push for a vote, Ryan has stuck to a promise he made to immigration hard-liners not to call a vote on the issue unless half the Republican Conference supports the measure.

The four proposals are all meant as a legislative replacements for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE rescinded in September.

Under DACA, around 690,000 Dreamers — immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as minors — were protected from deportation and allowed to work and go to school in the United States.

The Queen of the Hill rule that the GOP lawmakers have been pursuing would have the House choose between a hard-line proposal by Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRosenstein to appear for House interview next week Fusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth following House GOP subpoena House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE (R-Va.); the DREAM Act, a proposal that would give a path to citizenship to 1.8 million Dreamers; the USA Act, a measure that would pair the Dream Act with $25 billion in border security funding; and a yet-unnamed proposal of Ryan's choosing.

Trump originally gave Congress until March 5 to find a replacement for DACA, but courts blocked Trump's rescission, extending the program and, for the time being, rendering the deadline moot.

Updated at 12:35 p.m.