Discharge Drama: As Support Grows, Can it be Stopped?
By RJ Hauman | May 18, 2018
House Republican leaders and conservatives are desperately trying to kill the discharge petition that would trigger a series of amnesty votes, likely resulting in House passage of a mass amnesty bill carried mostly by Democrats.
Pro-amnesty Republicans say they have enough support within their conference to force a vote on Rep. Jeff Denham's (R-Calif.) H.Res.774, a resolution that would activate a little known and rarely used procedural rule referred to as "queen-of-the Hill." Under this rule, multiple alternatives of the same issue may be voted on the floor of the House of Representatives regardless of the results of any previous votes. Following all votes, the alternative with the most votes "wins" and is sent to the Senate for consideration.
However, not all Republican members whose support they're counting on have signed the discharge petition yet, partly because they're giving leadership a chance to bring an alternative solution to the floor. "I am confident we have the number we need now, but we’re continuing to work with leadership on this issue," Denham said.
In an effort to stave off the discharge petition without strong arming the perpetrators, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to talk about an immigration plan he could sign and that some Democrats could support. "We want to advance something that has a chance going into law, where the president would support it," Ryan said.
Some conservatives have pointed out that Ryan's inclination to simply craft an alternative amnesty bill shows that leadership doesn’t actually care about stopping the discharge petition. If Ryan truly wanted to stop the petition, there are plenty of options at his disposal. These options include demoting Republicans from committee assignments, withholding campaign funds, putting the Goodlatte bill on the floor, and keeping the House out of session just additional two days each month.
While Ryan and McCarthy continue to work on an alternative plan, conservatives are making an aggressive push for a vote on the Goodlatte bill. House Freedom Caucus members have threatened to tank the farm bill unless the Goodlatte measure goes to the floor, and appear to have the leverage to do so given that it was drafted as a GOP-only bill. "The vast majority of our members believe we should have a vote on immigration before the farm bill," Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said. "At this point there's not enough votes to pass the farm bill."
While something certainly has to give, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around how the discharge drama will play out. In the meantime, stay tuned to FAIR for updates.
And remember, you can help us fight back against this dangerous effort. Contact your member of Congress here and urge them not to sign the discharge petition. Time isn’t on our side!