GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise is opposing the pro-amnesty discharge petition which is being pushed by almost 20 business-first Republicans.
A spokesman for the third-ranking GOP representative, Chris Bond, told Breitbart News:
Whip Scalise has been very clear with members that a discharge petition is the wrong way to legislate. He is still actively promoting the Goodlatte-McCaul [immigration reform] bill, and is talking directly with members who haven’t signed onto the petition to urge them not to. The Goodlatte-McCaul bill provides vital border security, ends the visa lottery, and addresses DACA, and the Whip feels strongly that this is the right approach.
The Goodlatte immigration bill is backed by President Donald Trump.
Scalise’s open opposition to the discharge petition is important because the GOP’s leadership team has many tools to persuade pro-amnesty GOP members from adding their names to the petition, which is being boosted by Democrats and business groups.
Those tools include access to party fundraisers and funds, committee and leadership posts, as well as endorsements of members’ proposed legislation. For examples, the GOP leadership helped demote Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who had opposed spending programs, and was subsequently defeated in a 2016 primary by a business-backed GOP rival.
The GOP leaders can stop the amnesty petition by “beating the crap out of these moderates just like they would be beating the crap out of conservatives if they were trying to do this,” said Rachel Bovard, a senior director at the Conservative Partnership Institute.
However, she said, retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan has said little in opposition to the amnesty push.
But on May 11, Ryan pushed for an amnesty with some border security, while ignoring president Donald Trump’s broader pro-Americans reforms.
Ryan’s silence about the petition and his public support for the amnesty, suggests he tacitly supports the discharge petition strategy, say activists.
Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy used a Tuesday meeting of the caucus to slam the business-first group. Breitbart News reported:
“Our numbers are better,” McCarthy told House GOP members, per a source in the room. “If election is today we win. Will we continue to grow. But few things can disrupt us. We cannot disrupt ourselves. Intensity levels are still not there, and discharge petitions release the power of the floor that the American people gave us the responsibly to hold. When you release that power the majority goes to Nancy. If you want to depress intensity this is number one way to do it. We can debate internally but don’t let someone else like Nancy decide our future.”
The petition is being pushed by California GOP Rep. Jeff Denham, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, and Texas Rep. Will Hurd. So far, they have collected 18 GOP signatures, including just-retired Rep. Charlie Dent.
If 25 GOP legislators sign the pending discharge petition, then 193 Democrats will join them to get the 218-vote House majority needed for a discharge petition to successfully schedule a floor vote, despite leadership opposition.
The legislation in their petition will create a rare “Queen of the Hill” debate, in which legislators are allowed to vote for or against four rival amnesty-and-immigration bills. The bill which gets the most votes is the winner and is sent to the Senate.
That “Queen of the Hill” debate will allow the business-first GOP caucus to unite behind an amnesty bill that will pass with support from 193 Democrats but also split its votes to guarantee the failure of pro-American immigration bills. That complicated process will allow the business-first GOP members to pass the Democratic-backed amnesty bill while also pretending they support a pro-American bill.