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 CurbeloDems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor MORE (Fla.) filed the motion, and was quickly joined by Republican Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (Calif.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP rep: Trump emergency declaration puts US in 'uncharted territory' Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security MORE (Texas), Mario Díaz Balart (Fla.) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race 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 Hill's Morning Report - Government is funded, but for how long? Ex-GOP lawmaker says his party is having a 'Monty Python' moment on shutdown Former GOP lawmaker: Republicans know shutdown is ‘a fight they cannot win’ MORE (Pa.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word MORE (R-Mich.), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertYoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm Outgoing GOP rep says law enforcement, not Congress should conduct investigations MORE (Wash.), Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020 MORE (Colo.), Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for Fighting AIDS domestically and globally means pushing more evidence-based services MORE (N.Y.), John FasoJohn James FasoGOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority New York New Members 2019 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 StefanikGOP announces members who will serve on House intel panel Bipartisan House group introduces bills to stall Syria, South Korea troop withdrawals House votes on 10th bill to reopen government 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 Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySteve King asks for Congressional Record correction over white supremacist quote Steve King urges supporters to pray for his committee assignments to be restored: report Congress allows Violence Against Women Act to lapse 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 TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration 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 GoodlatteIt’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling House GOP probe into FBI, DOJ comes to an end 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.