WASHINGTON(TIP): House Republican leaders further delayed vote on GOP immigration bill until next week in the face of opposition. Earlier, the House of Representatives on June 21 voted down a conservative immigration bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
House Republican leaders abruptly postponed a high-stakes vote Thursday on GOP immigration legislation that appeared headed to defeat, despite President Trump’s last-minute lobbying.
Several GOP hard-liners said Thursday, June 21, there was nothing leaders could do to convince them to vote for the bill. “I’m a big fat ‘no,’ capital letters,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). “It’s amnesty, chain migration, and there’s no guarantee the wall will be built.”
Republican leaders had set up two votes on their GOP bills — one on a hardline measure, the other on a compromise negotiated by conservatives and moderates.
In the first vote, the House rejected the hardline measure that would have imposed limits on legal immigration and provided temporary relief to young undocumented immigrants. The vote was 231-193.
As the vote occurred on a chaotic day on Capitol Hill, word circulated that the second vote would be postponed.
The legislation would have provided a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants, imposed limits on legal immigration and provided $25 billion for Trump’s border wall. The bill also would have kept migrant families together at the border in detention centers.
Neither bill was negotiated with Democrats or was expected to garner any Democratic votes. The separations crisis has prompted Democrats to dig in against the Republican immigration efforts barring a complete reversal of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
“Democrats are dedicated to securing our border, but we don’t think putting children in cages is the way to do it,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “This is outside the circle of human behavior.”
As prospects on Capitol Hill appeared to dim, Trump teed off on Democrats during the outset of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, suggesting that they were standing in the way of Republican success on immigration reform.
“They say no to everything,” Trump said. “They’re obstructionists because they think that’s good politically. I think it’s bad politically — for them, I think it’s bad politically. We’ll see.”
Trump attacked Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) as “extremist open-border Democrats” but also said he would welcome their presence at the negotiating table.
“We should be able to do a bill,” Trump said. “I’d invite them to come over to the White House anytime they want.”
The White House has made a last-minute push to pass legislation amid the brewing border crisis prompted by the family separations that resulted on the U.S.-Mexico border from Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have all appeared on Capitol Hill this week to urge Republican lawmakers to pass legislation. They have not specifically urged passage of one alternative, which stands to end with Republicans split on their preference and neither bill passing.