Report: House Dems Will Try to Force Amnesty Vote with Discharge Petition
House Democrats will reportedly try to force the GOP's hand on comprehensive immigration reform legislation by unveiling a discharge petition on the House floor Wednesday for the Democrats' comprehensive immigration reform bill that would grant amnesty and reduce the wages of American workers.
The Huffington Post cites a "senior Democratic aide" who said that "House Democrats will sign the petition on the floor after it is unveiled." Democratic aides told CNN that lawmakers will first "gather on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol to announce the petition and then walk en masse into the House chamber to file it."
Though it is highly unlikely, if 218 signatures are obtained, a floor vote will take place on the bill even if it is opposed by the GOP leadership. There are reportedly 200 co-sponsors of the bill, including three Republicans – Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Ros-Lehtinen and Valadao, however, will reportedly not sign the discharge petition.
The legislation (H.R. 15) is essentially the Senate's immigration bill, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, with the House's weaker provisions on border security.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that amnesty legislation would pass by June if it passes this year, which top Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have said may be amnesty's last chance.
Amnesty advocates, including the high-tech lobby that wants an increase in the number of high-tech visas despite more reports that have found no evidence to support the claim that there is a shortage of American high-tech workers, have said they would make a concerted effort in the spring to ram amnesty legislation through Congress. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have said they agreed the most on immigration reform when they met in the White House, with both indicating they wanted to get legislation "done."
House GOP leaders unveiled their "immigration principles," but after staunch amnesty opponents like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared the document as "amnesty," momentum for immigration legislation stalled, with GOP leaders saying they would not move the ball forward until they could get the trust of Obama to enforce the nation's laws. Opponents of amnesty have feared that was a stalling tactic for the leadership to secure the votes to pass amnesty legislation, which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the leadership currently did not have but was actively working to obtain.