It’s on like Donkey Kong as the Swamp has finally seen movement on the issue of DACA and illegal immigration, thanks to that pesky Congressional loophole known as Queen of the Hill rule.
Impatient Republicans aren’t willing to dwell on DACA any longer and are seeking to force a vote sooner rather than later. The obscure rule was dug up from the archives by Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Will Hurd (R-TX) — moderates by any sense of the word, hoping for a quick and painless end to the seemingly endless immigration gridlock.
And then along came Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) who instead of threatening to use the loophole, penned a discharge petition. The petition would force legislation onto the House floor if signed by a majority of members, without the need to go through lengthy committee review.
The Queen of the Hill rule allows representatives to instigate a final vote on competing bills. In this case, whichever of four proposed DACA bills gets the most votes, wins. If the petition is successful, four different proposals will be voted on as early as June and the spoils of victory bestowed by the one with most votes past a 50 percent threshold.
The idea gained momentum and caused a bad case of heartburn for the outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) who begged for a bi-partisan immigration bill that the president would sign.
Democratic leaders are insisting their members sign on to the Republican’s discharge petition to force a vote—come what may.
Is this a sign of a forthcoming apocalypse or are our fearless leaders afraid of facing midterms with this nonsense hanging over their empty heads?
Ryan Loses Control
A memo sent from Minority Whip Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to Caucus members urged their immediate participation:
“Members are strongly urged to sign the Curbelo Queen-of-the-Hill discharge petition on the House Floor, which is available for signatures immediately. Due to the timing of when a motion to discharge could be made on the Floor, and the current voting schedule, today is a critical day to try to achieve 218 signatures.”
Reports from Members say the line snaked around the chamber like a hedge maze, from floor to dais. And that has Speaker Ryan begging his minions not to sign in fear of losing all control in the House.
Joining Ryan is Representative Filemon Vela (D-TX); but not for reasons you might think:
“I ain’t signing it. I’m not going to facilitate a vote that will provide border wall funding.”
Horrid grammar aside, Ryan needs more Democrats such as Vela on his side to keep control of a potential runaway train. Even the Koch brothers are pushing for DACA amnesty, and who doesn’t want their deep pockets for an assist on the horizon as we barrel towards November? Republicans certainly cannot afford to lose their commitment to conservative policy.
Whip it Good
There are currently three separate immigration proposals ready for battle on the Floor; the USA Act, the Dream Act, and Securing America’s Future Act. Each has two important caveats—additional funding for Trump’s border wall and a sliding scale of amnesty for Dreamers, which has become America’s nightmare.
But Ryan may still be able to cobble an agreement between all parties as he is allowed his own proposal. He had best get down to business and figure out how to appease almost everyone or retire with this mess staining his legacy.
No one will remember the historic Tax Reform accomplishments if illegal immigration isn’t tamped down and put away. In those sage words of DEVO, that Minority Leader Hoyer has embraced (if you check out his official website), “When something going wrong, you must whip it.” Time to go forward, move ahead, Mr. Speaker. Just a thought.
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