ibusinesslines.com August 21, 2018

Some Republicans see progress on 'Dreamer' immigration deal

18 May 2018, 05:06 | Erica Roy

Rep. Mark Meadows: 'The Time Is Now' to Vote on Wall, Immigration Reform

GOP fights over crucial farm bill as lawmakers demand immigration vote first

"For us, immigration and farm bill go together". Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) hardline anti-immigrant bill, which doesn't now include a path to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries. The Freedom Caucus is also now working with moderates on a sort of compromise bill that would stick to President Donald Trump's "four pillars" on an immigration bill: a wall, scaling back family migration, ending the visa lottery program and a fix for immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the caucus chair, said Wednesday that he and his group might even hold their party's Farm Bill hostage in the process of blocking votes on immigration reform measures. But the food stamp proposal has driven Democrats away from the bill, which means Republicans must pass the measure with minimal GOP defections.

Republicans had planned to vote on the farm bill Friday, but if it clearly lacks support that vote could be in doubt.

The push continued a day after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told members that forcing the votes could cost Republicans the House majority by infuriating the GOP base - and an emergency meeting with centrists convened by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to try to diffuse the push.

"The GOP wants to cut $23 billion from child nutrition, veteran nutrition, the SNAP program, endangering a lifeline for hungry children, seniors, students", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference on Thursday.

With the threat of the discharge petition, GOP leaders are scrambling to fine-tune the Goodlatte bill in a desperate effort to build a Republican majority.

The group is pushing for an immigration vote because the farm bill is one of the last pieces of must-pass legislation the House will tackle between now and a spending bill at the end of September.

Under the Goodlatte-McCaul bill, immigrants brought to the United States illegally who are shielded from deportation under the Obama-era DACA program could have their protections renewed for three-year periods, but would not have a pathway to citizenship.

"We've been promised. many many months ago that we would have a vote on Goodlatte", Meadows said.

"We don't have an impending deadline for the farm bill", he said.

Conservatives aren't the only ones squeezing Ryan on immigration.

Although Ryan has decried the effort, saying that discharge petitions "disunify our majority", as of Thursday 20 Republicans and two Democrats have signed onto the petition.

House Republicans used a discharge petition successfully in 2015 to force a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

Assuming all Democrats sign the petition, 25 Republicans would need to lend their names to it; as of Thursday afternoon, 20 Republicans had signed on.

GOP leaders have made it clear to the moderates that they're not happy about the discharge petition.

For months, Ryan has warned his colleagues against advancing a measure he thinks President Trump would veto.

Whatever the House passes would have to be merged with a separate farm bill from the Senate, which has not yet been released.

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