Will an effort to force a debate on immigration on the House floor cross the finish line?
We could find out Thursday. That is the “soft deadline” set by GOP moderates for securing the needed backing to trigger a series of votes.
Congressional Republicans need two more signatures from their own caucus and three holdout Democrats to reach the magic number of 218 — a majority of all House members — to enact a procedural move to force the bill to the floor without interference from balking Republican leadership.
If two more GOP members sign the discharge petition, as the move is known, it will bring the total GOP signees to 25. Combine that with all 193 Democrats (190 have signed thus far), and that is 218 signatures.
If successful, the floor would debate HR 774, a Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) authored bill that sets “Queen of the Hill” rules on passing an immigration bill. That means, four different immigration bills go to the floor. Whichever one gets the most votes wins.
Fox News reported that the three Democrats who have yet to sign — Henry Cuellar, Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez (all of Texas) — object because some of the immigration bills that could be debated include a border wall.
Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) joined Denham as the original signers of the petition. Democrat Jim Costa (D-Fresno) signed as well.
However, no one new has signed since May 24, leaving the total stuck at 213.
Successful discharge petitions are rare. According to the Clerk of the House, this is the 10th such petition filed this session. None gathered the required amount of signatures. The last successful petition happened in 2015, regarding a banking bill.
Meanwhile, Politico summed up the tension in the GOP ranks this way today:
“House Republicans are on the brink of an embarrassing showdown over immigration that Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team have been desperately trying to avoid.
“GOP leaders have scheduled a two-hour immigration meeting on Thursday to try again to break the impasse. Ryan will make a final push to corral the conference behind an immigration plan. Moderates have designated that day, June 7, as a soft deadline for securing 218 signatures, which would tee up the immigration vote series for June 25.”