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House GOP discharge petition supporter says he likely won’t sign a second one

House GOP discharge petition supporter says he likely won’t sign a second one
© Greg Nash

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 CollinsJudge sets February 2020 trial date for GOP rep charged with insider trading Republicans start to pull plug on members Collins defends ad showing opponent speaking Korean against claims of bigotry MORE of New York, one of 23 Republicans who signed the initial discharge petition put forth by 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 (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.”

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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 (DACA) program if a pair of related, partisan bills fail this week.

The first proposal, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFusion GPS co-founder will invoke 'constitutional rights not to testify': lawyers House GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder Kid Rock, John Rich visit White House for music copyright bill signing MORE (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.

Centrists had gathered 216 signatures on their initial discharge petition — two shy of the 218 needed to force four competing DACA bills to the floor — before Republican leaders intervened with their two-vote strategy.

By the rules of the House, no bill that’s already received a vote on the floor — even if it fails — can be discharged by the petition route. Because the Goodlatte measure was central to the discharge petition, and has already seen action on the floor, supporters of the petition will have to start from scratch.

“We’ll have to start all over again,” Rep. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamPoll: Dems lead in 5 critical California House seats Dems announce third-quarter fundraising bonanza 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 MORE (R-Calif.), a centrist Republican, told The Hill last week.

Collins said he endorsed the initial petition to force action on provisions in the Goodlatte bill that would bolster a work visa program that’s crucial to the dairy farmers in his district. A second petition, he predicted, would likely feature a bipartisan DACA proposal sponsored by Reps. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDems 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 GOP spokeswoman says Republicans will lose House seats in midterms MORE (R-Texas) and Peter Aguilar (D-Calif.) that doesn’t include the agricultural component.

“It was always the agricultural piece I was pushing the hardest, and it’s not going to be in any other bill,” Collins said. “Just a stand-alone Hurd-Aguilar [bill] is probably not something I’d sign on to.”

Furthering the difficulties facing petition proponents is the fact that another Republican supporter, former-Rep. 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 (R-Pa.), resigned from Congress last month.