Thursday, October 24, 2019

Republicans are 15 signatures away from forcing DACA vote

More than 200 lawmakers — including 20 Republicans — have now signed a discharge petition to circumvent leadership and trigger a series of votes on the floor dealing with immigration.

As of Tuesday evening, petition proponents needed just 15 more signatures to reach the magic number of 218, but it will be this last group that will be hardest to get with GOP leaders trying to defeat the effort. If all 193 Democrats sign the petition, as they are expected to, the centrists would need only five more Republican signatures for the petition to succeed.

Frustrated lawmakers are desperate for action on legislation providing a permanent solution for DACA, which provides protection from deportation to young immigrants. But Republican leaders have been scrambling to quell the discharge petition, which they say will hand over power to the minority.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who was supposed to stay in Wisconsin through Tuesday evening flew back to D.C. early to address the GOP conference yesterday morning. During a closed-door meeting, Ryan urged unity among Republicans and expressed frustration over the discharge petition and last week’s failed farm bill vote, according to lawmakers who attended the meeting.

Leadership has floated an alternative plan to the discharge petition that would allow a series of immigration votes of their choosing during the third week in June, but the details of the process are still being worked out. With concerns growing among moderates about leadership’s alternative plan, more Republicans could back the petition.

Some Republican lawmakers say they’re reserving the right to endorse the discharge petition but want to give Ryan and GOP leaders more time to find a solution. “We’re having more and more members sign on. … We’ve always been confident we have the votes, so it’s just signing more members up this week,” Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), who is leading the insurgent effort with Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), told The Hill on Tuesday. “We have a strategy all week long.”

THE HILL