At the center of the internal debate is Nancy Pelosi and the question of whether Democrats will file a so-called “discharge petition” for the Senate immigration bill. If a discharge petition were signed by a majority in the House, the measure would get a full floor vote. Those advocating for this course — including Jonathan Chait and Steve Benen, among others — note that if most Dems signed it, only a handful of Republicans would be required to get it through, and since a majority in the House supports reform, that would all but ensure passage (with mostly Dems) in a full vote.
But Dems and advocates are divided over whether it’s a good idea. “There are differences of opinion over whether this is a good strategy,” Frank Sharry, the head of pro-immigration reform America’s Voice, and a leading proponent of using the discharge strategy, acknowledges to me.
A House Democratic leadership aide tells me no decision has been made on whether to proceed with the petition. According to people familiar with the situation, it’s provoking opposition among some Dems on the House “gang of seven,” who fear it could give Republicans in the “gang” an excuse to walk away from an emerging compromise that may be the best hope for anything approaching a comprehensive bill in the House. Some Dems in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and some Dems in border districts also are cool to the idea, because they object to the Senate bill’s huge border security buildup.