Paul Ryan Sets Votes On Two GOP DACA Bills, Stalling Discharge Petition
House Speaker Paul Ryan managed to put down a moderate Republican rebellion by promising to hold high-stakes immigration votes next week to address the struggles of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers facing possible deportation.
Ryan will thrust this difficult issue into the public eye before the November midterm elections, which are looking to be potentially difficult for Republicans. However, holding the floor vote will halt efforts made by moderate Republicans and Democrats to force a vote on immigration plans through a discharge petition. The moderates reportedly did not have the 218 signatures needed to force a vote on their bipartisan bills to codify the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The GOP moderates accepted that there will be one vote on a conservative proposal drafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R–Va.), and one on a compromised bill that is still being assembled by Ryan in consultation with moderate and conservative Republicans. Neither bill is expected to pass, but having to vote on them effectively kills the discharge petition campaign and the hopes of moderates who wanted to protect Dreamers.
“Members across the Republican Conference have negotiated directly and in good faith with each other for several weeks, and as a result, the House will consider two bills next week that will avert the discharge petition and resolve the border security and immigration issues,” Ryan’s office said in a statement. “The full Conference will discuss tomorrow morning and we’ll have more to share at that point.”
The petition and Ryan’s subsequent actions revived an immigration argument in Congress that had been dormant for months. The last time the issue was debated was in February, when Congress argued for a week before passing nothing. Lawmakers have felt no urgency, as, at least for now, the DACA program is continuing under the direction of the federal courts.