Immigration hasn’t only been a point of contention between the GOP and Democrats, Republican moderates and conservatives have struggled in the last few weeks to come up with a deal that they agree on.
However, Republican lawmakers reached an immigration agreement late Tuesday and will be voting on two measures next week.
“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,” said AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise expressed optimism that lawmakers would reach an agreement Tuesday.
“We are trying to get to an agreement on a bill that we can bring forward that can get 218 votes,” said Scalise to Politico. “We’re not there yet, but I think we’re moving a lot closer. And in exchange we would also make sure there would be no discharge petition.”
The negotiations revolved heavily around what to do with those who were enrolled in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as Dreamers.
“Moderates decided last week to make room for a possible compromise before moving forward with the petition, even as the two groups remained unable to close the gaps on the biggest sticking points, including protection and a path to citizenship for participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Obama created in 2012 and which the Trump administration sought to put an end to last September,” writes AOL. “Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has repeatedly said that he opposed the petition because he doesn’t find it useful to vote on an immigration proposal that President Trump would not sign into law. Trump has demanded that any legislative solution for DACA be coupled with border security measures, including a significant amount of funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The moderates pushed to include a measure with a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, but it fell short by two signatures.
That means the House will be voting on an immigration deal that conservative lawmakers advocated for, that won’t include the discharge petition.
Democrats were quick to condemn the GOP immigration bill.
“House Republicans’ latest failure to deliver for Dreamers is made all the more inexcusable by their many empty promises that they would get the signatures and move on the discharge petition,” said Javier Gamboa, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “If vulnerable members like Carlos Curbelo, Will Hurd and Jeff Denham can’t get the job done with their party controlling all of Washington, they have no business serving in Congress.”
Although the petition may not have gotten the signatures needed, Curbelo is pleased to see progress and called Ryan’s announcement a “major development.”
“Our goal has always been to force the House to debate and consider meaningful immigration reform,” said Curbelo. “And today we’re one step closer.”
Author’s note: Unfortunately, this debate is far from over, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. This will likely have an impact in the midterm elections too.