The end around DACA maneuver is almost here

How does the House GOP leadership avoid an embarrassing discharge petition that forces a vote on a DACA fix they don’t like? They bring up a vote on a different pair of immigration bills designed to defuse the effort. Or at least that’s the plan for now.

Seeing doom on the horizon if the discharge petition were to go through (and they’re only two votes short at the moment), retiring Speaker Paul Ryan has made tentative arrangements to bring two immigration bills to the floor for a vote next week. Of course, since it sounds like at least one of these is a bill that President Trump would never be willing to sign and the other seems impossible to pass, it’s likely just an exercise in futility which will force many members to take a vote they’d rather avoid in a midterm year. (NBC News)

Moderate and conservative Republicans in the House reached a deal late Tuesday to vote on two immigration measures next week, delaying for now the discharge petition effort by moderates to force immigration floor votes on a broader range of proposals.

“Members across the Republican Conference have negotiated directly and in good faith with each other for several weeks, and as a result, the House will consider two bills next week that will avert the discharge petition and resolve the border security and immigration issues,” said AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Strong did not share any additional details, but said that the full House GOP Conference planned to discuss the plan at a closed-door conference meeting Wednesday morning.

This announcement came after both factions spent several hours negotiating the final terms of a compromise Tuesday evening.

So the two bills are going to provide alternatives which likely still won’t have enough support to pass. One of them is Bob Goodlatte’s bill which was already introduced earlier this year. It’s called the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760) and it’s one of the best proposals put forward so far for conservatives. It contains funding for the border wall, mandatory E-verify use by employers, cracks down on illegal aliens engaged in gang activity, ends chain migration and the visa lottery and funds the hiring of 10,000 new immigration enforcement officers. In exchange for this, qualified DACA participants would qualify for a new, renewable three-year legal status which they could maintain as long as they stay out of trouble.

Trump would almost certainly sign that one if it went through. The problem is, I doubt there’s a single Democrat that would vote for it.

The other option is supposed to be a “compromise bill” being offered by Mark Meadows. That’s still vaporware at this point, but assuming they can get it hammered out by the weekend, do we really think that the head of the Freedom Caucus is going to offer a plan that Democrats like more than Goodlatte’s bill? Color me dubious.

If both of them fail, we’re back to the discharge petition and all that happens is that the vote gets pushed back to July. (Even closer to the midterm elections.) Given the general level of national sympathy for DACA recipients and the amount of leverage Democrats believe they have with it, none of these developments are great news. No matter how this plays out we’re probably going to end up with many Republicans having to take a pointless vote on something which won’t pass into law but which can be held over their heads in November. And for many of them, if they wind up voting in favor of any sort of amnesty they’re going to draw a primary challenge in 2020.