Group Of House Republicans Trying To Force Vote On Immigration Legislation

A small group of House Republicans began gathering support Wednesday for a plan to force votes on immigration legislation as early as this summer, despite protests from party leaders.

The long-shot legislative maneuver, known as a discharge petition, requires that they persuade at least 218 House members to sign a petition to overrule House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders and compel votes on at least four immigration bills. The effort is a rare act of defiance of party leaders by legislators who are eager to avoid an ugly showdown over immigration ahead of the election in November.

Supporters of the petition say they are tired of waiting for leaders to act on immigration and are willing to resort to unusual steps to get their way. Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo told reporters Wednesday that he has been clear with leaders that he wants to empower lawmakers.

“We believe this institution needs to act. Immigration has paralyzed the institution for too long,” Curbelo said. “We don’t view this as [in] any way undermining House leaders.”

Members on both sides say they are frustrated by negotiations with the White House over border security and protection for immigrants who are in the country after being brought as children to the country illegally.

The Senate attempted to take up immigration in February but failed to advance any bills after a week of debate.

Members on both sides say they are frustrated by negotiations with the White House over border security and protection for immigrants who are in the country after being brought as children to the country illegally.

The Senate attempted to take up immigration in February but failed to advance any bills after a week of debate.

Curbelo said the plan is to allow votes on up to four bills. The first would be a moderate proposal that would include DACA protections and some bipartisan border security measures. The second bill would be a conservative measure drafted by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte to crack down on illegal immigration and place new limits on legal immigration. The other two options are still poorly defined, but at least one would be a bill crafted by GOP leaders and sponsored by Ryan.

By Kelsey Snell for N P R
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