WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House rejected a far-ranging immigration bill on Wednesday despite its eleventh-hour endorsement by President Donald Trump, as the gulf between the GOP’s moderate and conservative wings proved too deep for leaders to avert an election-year display of division on the issue.
The vote was 301-121, with nearly half of Republicans opposing the measure. The depth of GOP opposition was an embarrassing showing for Trump and a rebuff of House GOP leaders, who’d postponed the vote twice and proposed changes in hopes of driving up the vote for a measure that seemed doomed from the start.
The tally also seemed to empower GOP conservatives on the fraught issue. Last week a more conservative package was defeated but 193 Republicans voted for it.
Even if it passed, it would have been dead on arrival in the closely divided Senate, where Democrats would have had enough votes to kill it.
H.R. 6136 began the process of repairing our broken immigration system while strengthening our border & providing a solution for Dreamers. It’s incredibly disappointing the bill failed but it’s clear the only way forward is through bipartisan compromise.
— Rep. David Valadao (@RepDavidValadao) June 27, 2018
How Valley Lawmakers Voted
These were the votes of the Valley’s congressional delegation on the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018:
Jim Costa (D-Fresno): No.
Jeff Denham (R-Turlock): Yes.
Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield): Yes
Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove): No
Devin Nunes (R-Tulare): Yes
David Valadao (R-Hanford): Yes
Dear Colleagues: We must stop playing partisan games & get to work on real bipartisan #ImmigrationReform.
We must stop holding vulnerable children & #DREAMers hostage & fix our broken #immigration system so it’s fair, secures our border, & respects the dignity & humanity of all. pic.twitter.com/HEu4RvJUVS
— Rep. Jim Costa (@RepJimCosta) June 22, 2018
GOP Leaders Contemplate Plan B
GOP leaders have been talking about a Plan B: a bill focused narrowly on barring the government from wresting children from migrant families caught entering the country without authorization.
With television and social media awash with images and wails of young children torn from parents, many Republicans want to pass a narrower measure addressing those separations before Congress leaves at week’s end for its July 4 break.
But GOP aides said Republicans had yet to agree on bill language. And the effort was complicated by a federal judge who ordered that divided families be reunited with 30 days.
No Democratic Party Support for Bill
Democrats voted en masse against the House legislation, which would provide a shot at citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.
It would provide $25 billion for Trump to build his coveted wall on the border with Mexico, restrict family-based immigration and bar the Homeland Security Department from taking migrant children from parents seized crossing into the country without authorization.
Trump’s Last-Minute Sales Pitch
In a startling turnabout earlier Wednesday, Trump made a last-minute pitch for the bill. Last Friday, he urged Republicans to stop wasting time on the effort until after the November elections.
In his latest instance of whiplash on the issue, Trump tweeted, “HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE.”
The tweet — which referenced Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., one of the bill’s sponsors — could well garner additional votes for a measure that was still expected to fail Wednesday. It was also the latest example of Trump’s erratic dealings with Congress. On Friday he dashed off a tweet, saying Republicans should “stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November.”
The McCarthy-Trump Bond
Trump had heard from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield., who urged him to publicly support the bill, said a person familiar with the conversation who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. McCarthy, who is hoping to succeed Speaker Paul Ryan as speaker next year, and Trump have forged a close relationship.
Hours later, the White House sent a letter to lawmakers restating its support, saying the legislation would “support the administration’s goals” on immigration.