Nervous Republicans Ask Trump to Save Ryan’s Amnesty Bill

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s fading amnesty bill could be revived if President Donald Trump publicly touts his support for the measure, GOP amnesty advocates and leaders are telling reporters.

The appeal to Trump is likely being sent by Ryan to Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly.

Ryan’s team has already postponed by the vote for a day, and is using the time to persuade and cajole GOP conservatives to support his bill, which includes an amnesty for 1.8 million illegals and a fast-track to green cards for roughly 300,00 Indian tech-workers and their spouses.

One unidentified GOP advocate says the caucus is being moved towards a yes vote:

The reported via Twitter that:

Some House conservatives want @realDonaldTrump to clarify whether or not he thinks compromise immigration bill amounts to “amnesty,” as many groups on right are saying. If he tweets it’s NOT amnesty, they may get on board.

Rep Mark Walker, chairman of the Republican Study Committee told a NBC Capitol Hill reporter that “What would compliment the most to that is having the president continue to add to his voice to this compromise bill.”

However, Trump made clear earlier in the day that he not going to enthusiastically back Ryan’s amnesty, partly because the 49 Democratic Senators are expected to block Ryan’s amnesty bill and immigration reform which helps Americans. He tweeted:

Rep. Mike Coffman, who was one of GOP legislators who split the party by pushing the discharge-petition measure, also wants the President to save Ryan’s amnesty, according to a RollCall reporter.

In the early afternoon, Coffman helped defeat the stronger immigration-reform bill drafted by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House judiciary committee. The bill got 193 GOP votes, despite opposition from Ryan, his leadership team and many business groups.

But the rejection of the Goodlatte bill means the President should help Coffman push the Ryan bill through the House, Coffman argued. “Now that we really have just one option on the table, I think the American people need to hear from the president about how important this bill is to his administration to get it passed,” said Coffman.

Coffman’s Colorado district is a swing district, partly because GOP legislators worked with business groups to import huge numbers of pro-government Hispanic voters over the last few decades. He is now trying to save his seat in November by supporting the arrival of more pro-government Hispanic voters.

Coffman was recorded as a no vote on the Goodlatte bill, along with 40 other GOP members, including the legislators who pushed for the discharge petition, plus a few legislators who are firmly against any amnesty, no matter the value of a political trade.

The fourth-ranking Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also voted against the Goodlatte bill, even though she is chair of the GOP House conference, and is trying to win more votes for Ryan’s bill.

McMorris Rodgers said she voted against the Goodlatte bill because Ryan’s bill is a better match for Trump’s ‘Four Pillars’ reform. Ryan’s bill offers a bigger amnesty than Goodlatte’s bill, and McMorris Rodger’s has previously supported amnesty proposals which help farmers in her Washington State district.

On June 15, McMorris Rodgers sent talking-points to GOP legislators to help them defend Ryan’s amnesty bill when talking to their voters. “The bill does not provide amnesty to anyone … The bill simply allows the DACA population – children who were brought here through no fault of their own and grew up in the United States – an opportunity to get right with the law and earn a legal status in our country,” says the talking-points memo.

McMorris Rodgers’ memo echoed the demand by GOP donors that the nation’s immigration policy should serve their business purposes, and not serve Americans’ desire for a middle-class lifestyle, marriage and kids. She wrote:

KEY MESSAGE: America is a nation of immigrants; however, our current immigration system is outdated and failing the American people. The status quo on the border puts us in danger, and our current immigration system keeps the best and brightest from coming here legally.  For the first time in decades, we are taking serious steps to fix our visa and immigration system while fully funding the President’s request to build the border wall. This bill starts a step-by-step approach, and the first step is building a wall and securing our border.

Still, Ryan’s team has picked up a few votes, including support from Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler.

But Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, co-chair of the House Freedom Caucus, is skeptical about the bill’s future.

Speaker Ryan is trying to persuade the legislators, and one reporter Tweeted that he offered to hold a vote on mandatory use of E-Verify. But Ryan has already announced he will soon hold a vote on E-Verify in combination with a huge guest-worker program for farmers. There is no evidence that Democrats will support the E-Verify program, even if it is packaged with a national amnesty.