Congressman Jeff Denham is heading an effort by a group of House Republicans to avoid the conventional legislative process and force a vote on a group of immigration proposals, spurred by the fact that Congress has not been able to approve a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Last week a group of Republican lawmakers, including Denham, introduced a discharge petition to force a series of floor votes on four DACA, immigration and border security bills, and if it receives 218 signatures, it will force a vote on H.Res. 774 that Denham introduced in March, allowing Members of Congress to debate the issue on the House floor under the “queen of the hill” rule.
The push for a vote comes months after the Senate failed to pass an immigration overhaul in February, after it was announced by the Trump administration in September that DACA would end by March 5.
“Congress must do its job and have the debate we have avoided for years,” Denham said. “My rule is about coming together in a bipartisan manner to find a compromise on a permanent solution for America’s Dreamers and responsible border security.”
Currently, the discharge petition has 19 signatures, while H.Res.774 has 248 cosponsors. The resolution would bring to the House floor the Securing America’s Future Act, the DREAM Act, the USA Act and an immigration bill of Speaker Paul Ryan’s choosing.
According to the rule, whichever proposal received the most votes and meets the mandatory majority-vote threshold would be adopted, thus becoming the “queen of the hill.”
At his weekly news conference on Thursday, Ryan said that the group’s efforts are doomed to be vetoed.
“Having some kind of spectacle on the floor that results in a veto doesn’t solve this problem,” he said. “We never want to turn the floor over to the minority. What I don’t want to do is have a process that just ends up with a veto. We actually want to solve the DACA problem.”
If all 193 Democrats join Denham and the other Republicans who have signed the discharge petition, the group would still need six more Republicans in order to hit 218. If the petition receives enough support, the earliest a vote could be held would be June.
Denham appeared on CNN’s Newsroom with Anna Cabrera on Saturday to discuss H.Res. 774, calling for compromise.
“The whole point of this is, let’s bring it up for a debate. Both parties have talked about this for well over a decade now,” Denham said. “The Dreamers have been held in the balance here. And then to have a March 5 deadline and just bypass that altogether – I’m willing to empower the Speaker to push for this – to make sure that we actually do have a vote on the floor.”