House GOP leaders sent a 293-page immigration bill to their members on Thursday designed to bridge the substantial divide between the centrist reformers and conservative immigration hawks in their conference.
Early reactions suggest the bill is unlikely to do so, with members of both the far-right Freedom Caucus and conservative Republican Study Committee telling The Hill they planned to vote no on the compromise.
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a Freedom member and immigration hard-liner facing a competitive reelection battle, described the compromise effort as “hasty political maneuvers pasted together at the last minute.”
“We gotta go back and talk to our constituents. When they hear about this deal, it’ll be a no. They won’t be happy,” Brat told The Hill.Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a reform-minded Florida Republican who’s been at the center of the GOP negotiations, said he’ll seek changes.
“We’re still reviewing it and there are some areas where we’re looking to make some changes, so not ready to make a final decision yet,” Curbelo said.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), who heads the Republican Study Committee (RSC), suggested he’ll also fight for amendments.
“I don’t think it’s arrived quite yet,” he said.
Further reducing the bill’s odds, Heritage Action, an influential conservative group, is urging lawmakers to oppose the package, citing the Dreamer benefits.
“While lawmakers fighting to build a national consensus for an immigration policy that works for hundreds of millions of Americans deserve credit, those changes cannot be predicated on codification of amnesty,” said Tim Chapman, the group’s executive director.
The bill features the “four-pillars” approach demanded by President Trump, including protections for so-called Dreamers; new enhancements in border security, including President Trump’s promised border wall; new limits on family migration; and an end to the diversity visa program, which promotes new arrivals from countries with low rates of immigration.
White House aide Stephen Miller has been sitting in on negotiations between centrist and conservative Republicans over the past week, a signal the White House could support the final product — but a harbinger for opposition from Democrats given his hardline approach to the issue.
“This is DOA,” said one Democratic aide, predicting no member of the minority would vote for it.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), whose office sent out the bill text to Republican offices, emphasized the administration’s role in the process.
“We’re talking today about the details and clearly Steven Miller and others in the administration have been directly involved in a lot of the discussions and negotiations we’ve been having, they like what’s in the bill and the president really likes the fact that it fully funds the wall,” he said.
Ryan on Thursday said he doesn’t know if the bill has the support to pass the House, but suggested the real goal is simply to allow those Republicans seeking to vote on immigration ahead of November’s midterms the opportunity to do so. … More at The Hill
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