Kevin McCarthy Moves to ‘Checkmate’ Democrats on ‘Abolish ICE’ House Floor Fight

The Associated Press
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

House Democrats thought they were being clever when they banded together to oppose their own “Abolish ICE” legislation from Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy moved forward with an effort to force a House floor vote.

But McCarthy has an extra trick up his sleeve that Democrats were not counting on, per a House GOP leadership source with knowledge of the effort, that will send Democrats flailing down the rabbit hole of leftist extremism on immigration.

“The Democrats think they have us in check,” a House GOP leadership source told Breitbart News. “We are about to put them in checkmate.”

The essential thrust of the plan from McCarthy is that the GOP leadership will bring to the floor different legislation from Pocan and company that would instead of “abolishing ICE,” denounce calls to abolish the agency and praise it instead. The resolution, from Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), affirms support for all the solid work ICE does in enforcing American immigration law and denounces calls to abolish ICE. That will be voted on instead of the Pocan and company resolution that would abolish ICE, forcing the Democrats into a legislative corner splitting their party even further.

In other words, the Democrats’ political plans to oppose their own “abolish ICE” bill will have been exposed when the Democrats are forced to vote for or against upholding ICE’s successes and supporting the agency.

According to NumbersUSA, the Higgins resolution–which also has a U.S. Senate companion introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)–would do three things:

1.) express its continued support for all United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of ICE;

2.) denounce calls for the complete abolishment of ICE; and

3.) support the efforts of all Federal agencies, State law enforcement, and military personnel who bring law and order to our Nation’s borders.

After McCarthy announced last week he would bring the Pocan-led bill to the floor, Pocan, Jayapal, and Espaillat all went on record to Vox–a leftist website–to announce plans to oppose their own bill. Democrats have tried to frame their opposition to their own bill as some kind of backfire on McCarthy for calling it up for a vote, a vote certain to fail as Republicans would have been unified against the measure on the House floor.

But now that Democrats will be forced to not only oppose their own bill, which they have already demonstrated they do, but vote either for or against the Higgins resolution praising ICE, they are boxed in. A vote against Higgins’ resolution, as many Democrats will surely do, is in other words a vote to abolish ICE–again, a deeply unpopular position with the voting middle class across America.

The House GOP leadership source predicts that every Republican will vote for the Higgins resolution, but the Democrats will split on the matter. “They won’t be able to go on record and support ICE,” the GOP leadership source said. “Their base would kill them. They will be split. The Dems won’t know what to do.”

“Abolish ICE,” the call to eliminate the federal agency–Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE–that enforces federal immigration law became a hard leftist battle cry inside the Democrats’ own party after open devout socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Democratic leadership member Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) in a surprise primary win last month. Ocasio-Cortez’s win sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party, shaking its very foundations and leadership to their core. That is because Crowley, the number four official in House Democratic leadership in Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s inner circle, was widely viewed as a potential successor to the 78-year-old Pelosi.

Ocasio-Cortez has fully embraced the radical position of abolishing ICE, in interview after interview, and the position is quickly becoming a mainstream one inside the Democratic Party.

But, the issue remains deeply unpopular outside the annals of the Democratic Party and institutional left. Per a recent Politico and Morning Consult poll, only 25 percent back abolishing ICE while a majority–54 percent–support keeping ICE.


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