Discharge Petition Drama Peaks as House Members Leave Town
By Jennifer Hickey | May 24, 2018
Before leaving for the Memorial Day holiday recess, Republican Reps. Tom Reed of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania became the 211th and 212th House members to back a discharge petition that would force a wide-ranging immigration debate next month.
All but one Democrat have pledged to sign, so leaders of the rogue effort need a mere three more Republicans to secure the required 218 votes. The opening scene for this drama began a month ago when Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) unveiled his aggressive campaign to pass some form of amnesty bill.
As the chances of Denham’s gambit have increased, so too has the backroom drama and dangerous talk of “compromise” bills. So, what’s next? That is hard to predict, but here are some key points and dates to consider.
- The House does not reconvene until June 5 and the GOP caucus will meet two days later in an attempt to reach agreement on a bill which could be brought to a vote sometime in the third week of June.
- If leadership brings an alternative immigration measure to the floor first, it automatically makes the discharge petition null and void.
- Supporters must obtain 218 signatures by June 11 in order to force the discharge petition on June 25, which is the next eligible day House rules permit consideration of the petition.
Even as members were heading out of town, talks were ongoing between the three factions — the GOP leadership, pro-amnesty liberals and the conservative Freedom Caucus — about the next steps forward. President Trump said Thursday that he is monitoring the talks, but without a border wall and “very strong border security, there will be no approval from me.”
The primary point of contention remains whether to provide a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries with amnesty and a path to citizenship – the first step down a slippery slope and one which the country cannot afford.
FAIR will continue to keep you in the loop and on top of the latest developments, but we encourage you – and your friends – to contact your representatives to ensure they hear where you stand on the issue of amnesty and border security.