Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed

It's a busy day on Capitol Hill as House Republicans seek to pass a bill on immigration. 

Republicans were set to consider two bills on Thursday: a compromise measure worked out between conservatives and centrists, and a more hard-line alternative.

But the vote on the compromise bill was delayed to Friday as leadership seeks to shore up support.

The more conservative legislation failed on the House floor. 

The stakes for the votes have been raised by the controversy surrounding the separation of parents from their children at the border. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE signed an executive order on Wednesday ending those separations but is also calling for legislation.

 

House postpones vote on compromise bill until next week

7:45 p.m.

House GOP leaders on Thursday evening postponed a vote on a compromise immigration bill until next week so that they can build more support for the legislation.

Leaders announced the move following a two-hour long conference meeting designed to brief members on the measure’s contents.

"We're going to keep working -- there are good ideas being discussed," Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThis week: Congress set for next stage of Mueller probe fight Why do so many Democrats embrace hate speech? Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report MORE (R-La.) said. "We're trying to see if we can come to a consensus. So there are still complicated issues we're working through, but we're going to keep trying." 

The bill was initially schedule for a vote Thursday, and then was pushed to Friday after members complained that they didn’t have enough time to read and digest the nearly 300-page bill that was rolled out late Tuesday night.

—Melanie Zanona and Juliegrace Brufke

House GOP meets as leaders try to build support for compromise bill

5:29 p.m.

The House GOP is now holding its conference-wide meeting on immigration. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.), a lead sponsor of the compromise bill now set for a vote Friday, is going through the measure section by section to brief lawmakers on what it actually does.  

Lawmakers are being served make-your-own deli sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. 

—Melanie Zanona

Gohmert: Leadership 'out of touch with the feelings of the conference'

5:16 p.m.

GOP House leadership didn’t work closely enough with lawmakers on the conservative immigration bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertHouse Republicans find silver lining in minority The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions MORE (R-Texas) said Thursday.

Gohmert, an immigration hardliner who voted against the Goodlatte bill, said he "was close" to supporting it.

"There's a lot of good in the bill," said Gohmert. "If they'd allowed a little more input on the bill, I have no doubt whatsoever it could have and would have passed."

The Goodlatte bill failed 193-231 as leadership postponed until Friday a vote on a more centrist compromise measure.

"They've been telling people, including this morning on Fox, that gee, this compromise bill is going to get so many more votes than the Goodlatte bill," Gohmert said.

"I don't think it's true, I don't think it's ever been true and I think it's another piece of evidence of how out of touch they are with the real feelings of the conference," he added.

—Rafael Bernal

Discharge petition supporter says he likely won’t sign a second one

3:46 p.m.

A Republican supporter of the effort to force bipartisan immigration bills to the floor said Thursday that he likely won't endorse another discharge petition, even if both GOP-backed "Dreamer" bills fail this week.

Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Don’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall MORE (N.Y.), one of 23 Republicans who signed the initial discharge petition put forth by Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Fla.), said he probably won’t support a similar effort in the future.

"I’m pretty much a lean no,” Collins told The Hill. “I won't say I'm a hard no, but I'm probably a no.”

The loss of Collins’s signature would be a blow to Curbelo and other centrist Republicans vowing to launch a second discharge petition to force votes to salvage the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program if a pair of related, partisan bills fail this week.

The first proposal, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), was rejected in a 193-231 vote Thursday afternoon. The second bill, a more moderate proposal offering citizenship to Dreamers, is slated for a vote on Friday — a day later than initially scheduled to allow GOP leaders more time to rally support for the measure.

—Mike Lillis

Dem lawmaker: Leadership 'got poked in the eye' by GOP

3:01 p.m.

Rep. Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaHow Pelosi is punishing some critics while rewarding others New Dem caucus chairman: Some wall is good, but not new wall Border lawmakers press Trump to beef up existing security MORE (D-Texas) slammed Democratic leadership's immigration strategy Thursday, saying they should not have agreed to work with centrists.

"House Democratic leadership got poked in the eye by the very moderate Republicans they're trying to defeat," said Vela as the House voted down a conservative immigration bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

House leadership delayed votes on a GOP compromise bill — seen as slightly more moderate than the Goodlatte measure — until Friday. 

That bill is also expected to fail, leaving no active legislation dealing with the future of either Dreamers or migrant children separated from their parents at the border.

Vela, who's been known for his opposition to party leadership, said "there's no question" that Republicans were negotiating in bad faith with Democrats.

"We all know where all this is headed and none of it's good for any immigration reform or Dreamers. At this point the Democratic position should be to retract and demand a clean Dream Act like it should've been before they rushed everybody on to that discharge petition."

—Rafael Bernal

Hard-line immigration bill fails in the House

2:12 p.m.

The House rejected a hard-line immigration bill introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) after leadership postponed a second vote on a compromise measure written with centrists.

The vote came a day after President Trump signed an executive order ending his administration's controversial practice of separating migrant children from parents who cross the border illegally.

House leadership had expressed pessimism on the chances for either Goodlatte’s legislation or a second GOP compromise bill written with centrists, both of which were brought to the floor as the growing crisis at the border dominated headlines.

The hard-line measure faced sharp pushback from both Democrats and moderates, who took issue with a number of provisions including its cuts to legal immigration. Both bills have the support of the administration, whose "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration has come under bipartisan fire over the separation of migrant families.

—Juliegrace Brufke

House Republicans delay 4:30 p.m. conference

2:11 p.m.

House Republicans are now scheduled to conference at 4:30 today in the wake of the vote being pushed.

—Juliegrace Brufke

House postpones vote on compromise bill

2:08 p.m.

House Republican leaders are delaying a vote on a compromise immigration bill until Friday.

The delay comes as leadership has struggled to secure 218 votes for the measure, which is the product of weeks of negotiations between centrists and conservatives.

—Melanie Zanona

Trump: 'We're all bothered by' by sight of children in detention centers

1:57 p.m.

Trump said Thursday that everybody in his Cabinet is “bothered” by images and stories of migrant children being separated from their parents but continued to blame Democrats for causing the situation.

Trump said at a Cabinet meeting that first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Schwarzenegger tells Trump to 'listen to the first lady' before attacking McCain The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain MORE traveled to Texas to tour facilities being used to house some migrant children who had been separated from their family.

“It really bothered her to be looking at this and to be seeing this, as it bothered me, as it bothered everybody at this table. We’re all bothered by it,” Trump said.

Thousands of migrant children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.

—Brett Samuels

Senators plan bipartisan meeting on immigration crisis

1:46 p.m.

As the House moves toward votes on a pair of GOP immigration reform bills, across the aisle a new bipartisan Gang of Four plans to meet next week to begin in-depth negotiations on a bill to solve the problem of mass detentions and child separation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

GOP Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (N.C.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNunes on Mueller report: 'We can just burn it up' 18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report Lawmakers clash over whether conclusion of Mueller investigation signals no collusion MORE (Texas), the original co-sponsors of a Republican measure to keep detained families together at the border, are meeting with Democratic Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThis week: Congress set for next stage of Mueller probe fight Dem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe GOP lawmaker offers constitutional amendment capping Supreme Court seats at 9 MORE (Calif.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (Ill.) next week to lay the groundwork for a compromise.

“It’s really to bridge the gap,” Tillis said Thursday of the meeting’s purpose. “We need to go through what-if scenarios so that we can address the legitimate concerns of two- or three-year detentions if the courts get clogged up."

—Alexander Bolton

Ryan: Votes a 'legitimate exercise' even if they fail

1:21 p.m.

Regardless whether two immigration bills pass or fail, the votes will have been a “legitimate exercise,” Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters Thursday.

The Wisconsin Republican argued that he views the pair of votes as a success because they avert a discharge petition effort by moderate GOP insurgents and Democrats, and allows Republicans to vote on immigration legislation backed by President Trump.

The push for the petition was an “exercise in futility,” Ryan argued, because it would have handed control of the floor to House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight After Mueller, Democrats need to avoid the Javert trap More than a half-million web articles published on Russia, Trump, Mueller since investigation began: analysis MORE (D-Calif.) and other Democrats.

“Our goal was to prevent a discharge petition from reaching the floor, because a discharge petition would have brought legislation to the floor that the president would have surely vetoed. It would have been an exercise in futility,” Ryan said at his weekly press briefing.

“The bills that are coming to the floor today are bills that, if it got to his desk, [Trump] would sign into law. Therefore, it's a legitimate exercise,” he said.

Many GOP lawmakers and some White House officials are predicting that both immigration bills — a compromise bill negotiated between centrist and conservative Republicans, as well as a more hard-line immigration bill called Goodlatte/McCaul — will be rejected on the floor Thursday afternoon.

If that happens, Ryan wouldn’t say whether the House would take up narrower, stand-alone legislation that only deals with the family separations issue that has dominated headlines in recent days.

“We will cross that bridge if we get to it,” Ryan said.

—Scott Wong

Eleventh hour meeting called in Ryan's office

12:53 p.m.

House leadership has called a last-minute meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) office ahead of Thursday votes on a pair of GOP immigration bills that are both expected to fail.

A GOP source tells The Hill that the meeting, set for the next hour, comes as multiple Republican lawmakers are seeking to push a vote on an immigration measure to next week.

—Juliegrace Brufke

House votes to proceed to debate on hard-line measure 

12:52 p.m.

The House voted 226-185 to proceed to debate on the hard-line immigration bill introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

A final vote on the measure is expected to take place shortly after 5 p.m.

An unexpected meeting on immigration is set to take place in Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) office ahead of the final vote, according to a GOP source. A number of Republicans are advocating the vote on the compromise bill be pushed back to next week. 

—Juliegrace Brufke

Pelosi calls GOP immigration bill 'a compromise with the devil'

12:40 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Republicans with promoting cruelty to children at the border, characterizing the GOP’s compromise immigration bill as a deal with the devil. 

Pelosi highlighted the partisan nature of the debate, saying she’s had no conversations with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) about a legislative solution to the separation of families at the southern border with Mexico. 

“They have not ever been interested [in bipartisanship],” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. 

“They talk, and sometimes you all repeat it, that it’s a compromise. But it is not a compromise. It may be a compromise with the devil, but it’s not a compromise with the Democrats,” she said.  

Pelosi said Democrats are not satisfied by Trump's executive order to end family separations saying the order “seeks to replace one form of child abuse with another.”

“Whether they’re incarcerated with their parents or not, they should not be incarcerated,” Pelosi said. “They’re children.” 

— Mike Lillis

Melania visits immigrant children at Texas border

12:34 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump traveled to Texas to visit immigrant children in detention facilities.

The president made the announcement about the first lady's visit during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. 

Melania Trump’s office later said in a statement she made the trip to “take part in briefings and tours” at a facility run by a nonprofit.

— Jordan Fabian

House committee votes down measure barring family separations

12:17 p.m.

The House Budget Committee rejected an amendment that would bar the Department of Homeland Security from using funds to separate families detained after crossing the border illegally.

The Democratic amendment failed by a 16-9 vote along party lines.

“Children are being ripped from their parents' arms along our southern border,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico state Senate votes to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day New Mexico passes bill allowing same-day voter registration New Mexico passes bill requiring state's electricity come from renewable energy MORE (D-N.M.), the amendment’s sponsor and the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“Not one penny of taxpayer dollars should ever be used to inflict pain and suffering on a child in order to punish their parents and push a political agenda,” she added.

Committee Chairman Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackGOP rep defends Trump's border emergency declaration Top Republican says Trump's budget sets priorities, includes 'tough decisions' Chances of passing Dem budget are '50-50,' says chairman MORE (R-Ark.) said that while the amendment raised “serious concerns about immigration policy in our country,” such policy should not be taken up in the budget document.

“This amendment does not address the federal budget in a meaningful way. Rather, it seeks to change immigration policy, which is more appropriate for the committees of jurisdiction, Judiciary and Homeland Security, and for a debate on the House floor,” he said before urging a “no” vote.

— Niv Elis

Dem lawmaker: Republicans don't have the votes for either bill

10:49 a.m.
 
 
Lofgren, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, told reporters over coffee that the GOP would likely still put the bills up for a vote, even though they know they're likely to fail.
 
Lofgren said Republicans will seek a procedural win that would sideline a discharge petition — a motion to force a vote while sidestepping leadership — put forth by GOP moderates.
 
Because of the rules surrounding discharge petitions, if a conservative bill proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) gets through the House Rules Committee, the petition will be terminated.
 
The discharge petition's near-success — it has 216 of the required 218 signatures — ignited the current immigration debate and forced conservative Republicans to negotiate with centrists in the party.
 

Retiring GOP rep: Trump tweet undermines efforts to get undecided Republicans to support compromise bill

10:41 a.m.

Centrist Rep. Ryan CostelloRyan Anthony CostellloOvernight Energy: Park Service closing Joshua Tree after shutdown damage | Dems deliver trash from parks to White House | Dems offer bills to block offshore drilling | Oil lobby worries about Trump trade fight Ex-GOP Rep. Ryan Costello joins group pushing carbon tax Exiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch MORE (R-Pa.), who is retiring, said on Thursday that a tweet from President Trump will undermine efforts to get wavering Republicans on board with the compromise immigration plan.

"Wow, this undermines getting undecided GOP members to support the compromise bill," Costello tweeted.

Trump in a tweet earlier Thursday renewed his call to end the filibuster in the Senate, venting his frustration that his immigration agenda has hit a stalemate on Capitol Hill.

— The Hill staff

Meadows is not optimistic

10:02 a.m.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he is “not optimistic” that either immigration bill that the House is considering on Thursday will pass.

“I’m not optimistic about the two bills that will be on the floor today,” Meadows said Thursday in an interview with Hill.TV's "Rising." “I think at this point the more conservative bill doesn’t get to 218. It’s still up in the air whether the more moderate bill gets to 218.”

“If I were to have to handicap it right now at this particular point this morning,” he added, “I would say no, it’s not.”

— Melanie Zanona