Bad news for Paul Ryan and his hopes of pulling together both moderates and conservatives, but not entirely a surprise either. Ryan put down a rebellion in his own caucus and headed off a clean DACA authorization that almost succeeded in coming to the floor via a discharge petition, promising to allow both groups to craft their own bills for floor votes. They will advance next week with opposition from Democrats, meaning that neither is likely to pass anyway, but Donald Trump may have upset the applecart by categorically rejecting the proposal from the faction that nearly pulled off the discharge petition in the first place:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 15, 2018
The House is set to vote on two immigration bills next week — a conservative proposal crafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and a compromise proposal GOP leaders negotiated with moderates and conservatives.
“I’m looking at both of them,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” in an interview Friday morning from the White House lawn. “I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.” …
Democrats are opposed to both bills, and neither measure is expected to pass. Still, Trump’s comments are a blow to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who told the Republican Conference in a private meeting on Wednesday that the president was “excited” about the prospect of passing an immigration bill this year.
The Goodlatte bill has zero chance of getting out of the House, let alone passing the Senate, where it will need at least a handful of Democrats to clear a cloture vote. The compromise bill supposedly solved that problem by making concessions in both directions, and just yesterday Ryan claimed that the bill had been written with cooperation from the White House:
The speaker said that Republicans have been working “hand in glove” with members of the administration to make sure the president’s priorities are included in legislation voted on the floor. …
“There are members wanted to have votes on their issues, there were members who wanted to have vote on the Goodlatte-McCaul bill, they’re gonna get that. And then we now have a bill that represents a compromise that is going to be brought to the floor so members can actually vote on legislation tackling this issue and this has a chance of going into law,” said Ryan.
Apparently not. Trump’s sticking to his demands for full funding of the border wall and the end to the visa-lottery system, which he specifically disparages in this interview with Fox News, in exchange for regularizing DACA. Anything short of that will get a pass from the White House, a point on which Trump has been exceedingly clear for months now. The administration is looking for ways to unwind DACA while navigating lower-court rulings that keep it in place mainly to increase pressure on Democrats to take that deal, but until then, Trump sees a tough stand on the issue as a net winner for himself.
This may make next week’s votes something of an anti-climax, but perhaps Ryan has time to fix the deficiencies in the compromise bill before that point. Even if he does, the chances of getting Senate approval on either bill are roughly the same — somewhere between slim and none, and slim’s overstating the case. The big question will be whether Trump’s early rejection will restart the effort for the discharge petition, setting up a possible veto situation that will only benefit Democrats in the midterms.