House GOP delays their much-anticipated “compromise” immigration bill vote


House GOP delays their much-anticipated "compromise" immigration bill vote

House Republicans are preparing themselves for failure on immigration — but they are buying a little more time first.

On Thursday, House Republicans failed to pass a conservative immigration bill originally introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), which would have drastically cut the nation’s legal immigration levels and provided an extension to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. All Democrats and 41 Republicans voted against the bill.

This was supposed to be the first of two votes on Republican-led immigration bills on Thursday: Goodlatte’s conservative proposal and a “compromise” bill between House conservatives and moderate Republicans. Now, House leadership has said it will delay the vote on the “compromise” bill for one more day, to try to reconcile some intra-party turmoil between party factions.

Leadership decided it will hold a briefing for Republican House members on what’s actually in the “compromise” bill after it became increasingly clear that lawmakers didn’t even know what exactly they’d be voting on.

Neither proposal was designed to get any Democratic support, and by Thursday both bills were expected to fail on the House floor. Republicans might be delaying the vote by one day, but it’s far from certain that time will reconcile the big divisions on immigration within the Republican Party.

Republican lawmakers are supposed to vote on sweeping immigration reform. They don’t know what’s going on.

By Wednesday afternoon, conservative Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadow (R-NC) came out of a heated debate with House Speaker Paul Ryan and declared the compromise immigration bill was not “ready for primetime.” The Freedom Caucus controls enough votes to tank either bill.

The dispute, Meadows said, was over certain provisions — about border security and judicial purview over immigration cases — that he was told would be in the bill but weren’t.

“I don’t care anymore,” Meadows said angrily in his final words to Ryan on the floor. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

By Thursday afternoon, Meadows said it was unlikely the “compromise” bill could pass on the House floor. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he would put up both bills for a vote even if they would fail, simply saying the two votes are so members can “express themselves by voting for the policies they like.” But by Thursday afternoon, conservatives and some in House leadership — like majority whip Steve Scalise — had advocated for a little more time to negotiate.

Apparently, those crafting the bill need a bit more time to tell lawmakers what they will actually be voting on Friday. They’ve scheduled a briefing with House Republicans to go over the “compromise” GOP immigration proposal on Thursday evening.

The “compromise” bill would offer legal status for young unauthorized immigrants known as DREAMers and a path to citizenship for some, based on merit; direct billions of dollars toward a southern border wall; make cuts to legal immigration; and make it harder to seek asylum.

Confusion about which bills would be getting a vote started Wednesday afternoon. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), a member of the Republican whip team, came out of a meeting with House Republicans and told reporters there are three possible immigration bills, two of which could get votes Thursday — a sentiment that was echoed by several other Republican lawmakers in interviews with Vox. But House leadership said there are only two.

The confusion seemed to be rooted in the fact that Goodlatte is sponsoring both bills, leading some lawmakers to believe there are two conservative proposals and a third consensus bill with moderates.

“Believe me … there’s a bunch of us in there that have got this same issue,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) told Vox. “But we have got to vote on it.”

This was a bad-faith immigration debate from the beginning

There’s a world in which Congress could pass immigration reform.

We do not live in that world. Rather, the Republican “compromise” is a clear reflection of Trump’s hardline immigration views; it asks moderate Republicans and Democrats to accept a slew of conservative reforms to almost every arm of the immigration system, legal and illegal, in exchange for a partial and less-than-certain path to citizenship for DREAMers. Already, Democrats have balked at both Republican immigration proposals. And the bill still isn’t enough for conservatives, many of whom are decrying it as amnesty.

The partisanship in this House Republican immigration debate is by design.

For weeks, House Republican leaders, aligned with the White House, have been urging members to abandon an effort that would have forced votes on bipartisan immigration bills through a discharge petition and instead focus on a partisan Republican-only immigration bill. Ryan and White House officials argued that finding consensus among House Republicans would ensure Trump’s support.

But it’s clear this process won’t actually make law. Not only are Republicans having a difficult time finding consensus among their own ranks in the House, neither the Goodlatte proposal nor the GOP “compromise” has Democratic support.

Even Trump asked what the “purpose” of the two House bills is, if they are unable to get nine Democrats in the Senate to support it. But despite Trump’s desire to use Democrats as a punching bag, it’s clear there’s enough chaos among House Republicans alone.


House GOP delays their much-anticipated “compromise” immigration bill vote

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