Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Democrats divided over immigration strategy

I’m told divisions have opened up among Democrats over how to push immigration reform forward in the House of Representatives, with some advocates urging a more confrontational posture with Republicans, while other Dems insist that such tactics could end up undercutting the already-slim-to-none chances that House Republicans will pass something that could lead to real reform.

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. They would prefer to stake their chances on the possibility of a bipartisan House bill or on conference negotiations designed to reconcile the Senate bill with whatever the House passes.

Another argument being made internally is that there is no reason to decide right now whether to act on the petition; since it must ripen for 30 legislative days (not recess days) anyway. So the decision can be made in September, once folks have a better sense of how immigration played over the break, with no time lost.

By contrast, the arguments for the petition are that it would put pressure on Republicans to act; that it’s folly to expect House Republicans to pass anything significant on their own; and that valuable time — and momentum — after passage of the Senate bill have already been squandered by waiting.

“It puts Democrats on offense, and it puts Republicans in purple districts on defense,” Sharry tells me. “It mobilizes the movement for immigration reform and leans into the legislative fight, rather than hoping John Boehner figures out a way forward.” The theory is that there are at least some House Republicans for whom not acting on reform is politically problematic; filing a discharge petition pressures them to either sign on or go to their leadership and ask it to move forward with something.

Pelosi ultimately will let members decide. “Right now, there’s no consensus that this would accomplish anything at this time,” the Dem leadership aide tells me. “But this is a play that could be used later, should members want to do it.”

For proponents, much of this turns on whether you actually think Republicans will move anything significant forward in the House of Republicans, and whether you think it’s even possible in today’s House to proceed to conference negotiations. “One of the biggest threats we face is that Republicans will slow walk immigration reform to death,” Sharry says. “This is a way to counter that.”


Recent posts at CIS  below

See  here for the blog.  The CIS main page is here


1. TV: Steven Camarota Discusses Press Coverage of Illegal Aliens on FOX News

2. Video: Interview with Mickey Kaus on Waning of Liberal Values in Immigration Debate


3. USCIS Approach to Data Release: Flood ‘Em with Unreadable Numbers


4. Obama's Great Immigration Bluff

5. Burying the Lede: The L.A. Times Shows How It's Done

6. Front Group Pushing Amnesty Hired Illegal Organizer

7. Ms. Tian, the Valedictorian, and Immigration Policy

8. Rep. Labrador Meets the Press: Round 2

9. Judge: Obama’s DREAM Act Amnesty Is Illegal, but ICE Agents Can’t Sue

10. Crooked FSOs Busted for Selling Visas

11. No Action on Mayorkas Nomination Until After August Recess

12. Visa Integrity and Security = A SAFE America

13. Figuring the Damage Done by Detached Elites? Add Youth Unemployment to the List

14. Rep. Labrador Meets the Press: Round 1

15. Rep. Raul Labrador and the Courage of Immigration Convictions

16. Succession Scenarios at Buckingham Palace and at Homeland Security

17. Calling President Obama: A Black Man Seeks Action on Jobs

18. Boehner's Failure to Acknowledge Massive Document Fraud and Identity Theft Leads to Bad Policy

19. Pollsters and Pundits Still Misleading on Back Taxes Provision

20. SAFE and Sound Legislation: Restoring the Parameters of the Constitution

21. Big EB-5 Project is Bankrupt in South Dakota; Investors May Lose Everything

22. More Evidence of Enforcement Stagnation

23. The Mayorkas Controversy Redux Cronyism, Policy Sleaze, and Indifference to the Nation's Security

24. Former GAO Official Talks Straight on Finding a Balance Between Border Security and Interior Security

25. Mayorkas Has Easy Confirmation Hearing — The GOP Boycotts It

26. Further Examination of the Consequences of "Stapling" Provisions

27. Keeping the Homeland SAFE and Secure

28. A Clash Between Two DHS Officials Is Likely to Cast Some Light on EB-5

29. Let's Pay Some Attention to Mexico's Southern Border and the OTMs

30. The GOP and Immigration: Having the Courage of Your Convictions

31. A SAFE Bet: Establishing a Cooperative Model for Federal-State-Local Relations on Immigration

32. Immigration Reform Takes an Anti-American Approach When It Comes to Employment

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