(WASHINGTON) — In the face of a fast-approaching deadline that would force bipartisan immigration legislation to be debated on the House floor, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan announced late Tuesday night that the House would consider two bills next week.
The two immigration bills include a conservative version and a bipartisan version that has yet to be written.
By announcing that the House will vote on these two immigration measures, Ryan narrowly avoided taking a bipartisan bill to the floor that would reopen the debate with Democrats on protecting so-called Dreamers — those brought to this country illegally as children who were previously protected by former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was disbanded by the Trump administration last year.
“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,” AshLee Strong, press secretary for Ryan, said in a statement.
More information will come Wednesday morning after the GOP meets to discuss, Strong said.
A discharge petition, which allows members of the House to force debate on the floor without House leadership’s approval, was a few votes away from forcing a vote on immigration legislation regarding border security and the status of DACA recipients that would be largely supported by Democrats. The petition was led by Rep. Jeff Denham of California, a moderate Republican, who was joined by more than a dozen other Republicans frustrated by a lack of movement on immigration. Democrats — all 193 of whom signed — made up the majority of the 215 signatures on the petition. It would’ve needed to hit 218 to move forward.
“It is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together on what can be a bipartisan solution, but we have to first have the debate. This will force the debate,” Denham said when he began the effort. “We feel very importantly that this has gotta happen now, and we’re willing to drive that vote.”
House Republicans have been grappling with the immigration debate ahead of the midterms. Just last week, GOP members met for two hours without reaching a deal, although conservatives and moderates emerged optimistic about the tone and direction of negotiations.
Still, Ryan has consistently spoken out against the discharge petition bucking GOP leaders in an effort to reignite the stagnant DACA debate on Capitol Hill.
“We think they’re a big mistake,” Ryan said in May after meeting privately with House Republicans. “They disunify our majority.”
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