GOP lawmakers back discharge petition to force immigration votes

GOP lawmakers back discharge petition to force immigration votes
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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. 

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GOP Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloRepublicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea Progressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign The Memo: Bad polls for Trump shake GOP MORE (Fla.) filed the motion, and was quickly joined by Republican Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamLobbying world Bottom line Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (Calif.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdTrump to attend California fundraiser with Oracle chairman The Hill's Morning Report - Nearing witness vote, GOP rushes to acquit Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump defense rests, GOP struggles to bar witnesses MORE (Texas), Mario Díaz Balart (Fla.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe biggest political upsets of the decade California Republican ousted in 2018 announces rematch for House seat The 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall 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 DentThe biggest political upsets of the decade Ex-GOP lawmaker: Former colleagues privately say they're 'disgusted and exhausted' by Trump Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Federal judge blocks Trump from detaining migrant children indefinitely | Health officials tie vaping-related illnesses to 'Dank Vapes' brand | Trump to deliver health care speech in Florida MORE (Pa.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Democrats seek to preempt Trump message on health care | E-cigarette executives set for grilling | Dems urge emergency funding for coronavirus Democrats slam GOP on drug prices in bilingual digital ads Lawmakers discuss how to work together in midst of impeachment fight MORE (R-Mich.), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertBottom Line The most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lymphedema Treatment Act would provide a commonsense solution to a fixable problem MORE (Wash.), Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (Colo.), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsFormer Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to 2 years in prison for insider trading GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Democrats running to replace Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins vow to support ethics package MORE (N.Y.), John FasoJohn James FasoThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads MORE (N.Y.), Mark AmodeiMark Eugene AmodeiBillboards calling on House Republicans to 'do their job' follow members home for Thanksgiving Trump's defenders are running out of options Avoiding the snake in the grass: Let's not allow impeachment to divide us MORE (Nev.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump basks in acquittal; Dems eye recanvass in Iowa Trump holds White House 'celebration' for impeachment acquittal Trump on Jim Jordan: 'He's obviously very proud of his body' 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 RyanPaul Ryan says Biden likely won't get Democratic nomination Judd Gregg: Honey, I Shrunk The Party The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power MORE (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses GOP climate plan faces pushback — from Republicans House GOP campaign arm mocks Democrats after stumbling upon internal info on races 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 TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press 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 GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview 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.