A GOP-backed “compromise” bill meant to settle the years-long debate on immigration was abandoned by Republicans Wednesday as it failed to pass the House following weeks of discussion between moderates and conservatives.
The bill failed by a margin of 121-301, garnering far less support than another, more conservative bill that was voted on last week and did not pass. The most recent legislation would have provided a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and provided $25 billion for border security, including the President’s wall — a bill that provided all facets deemed necessary by the Administration for a deal to be struck, Rep. Jeff Denham said.
Denham and a small group of other moderate Republicans have led the charge on drafting a bill that everyone can agree on, including both support for DREAMers and answers to the President’s request for more border security. Denham added that he also drafted a provision to end the separation of immigrant families at the border and insisted it be placed in the bill.
This was the four pillars that the Administration asked for. I think that there’s no district across the entire country that shouldn’t be disappointed right now.Congressman Jeff Denham
“This was the four pillars that the Administration asked for,” Denham said in a press conference following Wednesday’s vote. “I think that there’s no district across the entire country that shouldn’t be disappointed right now.”
Earlier this month, an effort led by Denham to force a vote on four immigration bills via a discharge petition fell through after moderates failed to get the signatures needed. The group settled instead on a plan from Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders to bring up the two partisan bills which failed in the House this week.
“This is not the bill that any of us would’ve written, but we negotiated in good faith with many members who continuously added measures that they no longer support and couldn’t support on the floor today,” Denham said.
Many have accused Denham of “dropping” the failed discharge petition, and during the press conference he reiterated that he and the other moderates had never given up on the document. Denham went so far as to say meetings with conservatives meant to come up with a compromise have been “frustrating.”
“It wasn’t an issue of not going through with it...there were a number of members who had committed to supporting the discharge petition that [then] were convinced they could get a Republican-only bill,” he said. “That’s a good question for them for why they didn’t feel the need to support it.”
Moving forward, Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday that if the compromise bill were to fail, they would likely pursue a smaller, more specific bill aimed at addressing the issue of family separation at the border, though it’s unclear if any action will be taken before the July 4 recess next week.