House Republicans Schedule Two Doomed Immigration Votes in Trump Loyalty Test
The House is set to vote today, again, on immigration and is, again, wholly unprepared. Forced by a discharge petition from supposed moderate House Republicans, leadership negotiated what is laughably being called a compromise bill that was largely negotiated with the Freedom Caucus and including much of Donald Trump's white supremacist wish list for immigration. But as things usually go with the Freedom Caucus, the whole thing kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a literal shouting match on the House floor. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), leader of the maniacs, confronted House Speaker Paul Ryan on the floor during an unrelated vote, accusing Ryan of doing a bait-and-switch with conservative bills and lying to Meadows about it, and saying that two of the provisions he wanted in the compromise bill were left out.
Ryan has apparently given in and told Meadows the compromise bill—the one that's supposed to bring in the moderates—will have his provisions. Meanwhile, the moderates are completely out of the loop and have no idea what Ryan and Meadows are getting into the bill. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), who has been leading the moderate faction in this fight, "told Chuck Todd on MTP Daily that 'it is unbeknownst to him' what the Freedom Caucus wants. Moreover, he said that everything that the conservative caucus wanted was included in the final compromise bill text."
Adding to the chaos, a drafting error brought the House Rules Committee into an emergency session late Wednesday night. One of the bills would have given Trump $125 billion for his border wall instead of the agreed upon $25 billion. Rules set up a procedural vote to fix it for Thursday morning that is likely to kick off the day of debate and fighting, the result of which is probably going to be abject failure.
What a swath of conservative Republicans—who don't trust Ryan and think they're being cheated, as usual—want now is "to make sure the President is very visible in his support for both bills this week," as Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) from the other conservative wing, the Republican Study Committee puts it. "They want to see it constantly as we move forward."
Good luck with that. Thursday morning Trump dismissed both bills in a tweet. "What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills," he fumed, "when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms). Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule—it is killing you!" Yes, the fact that the majority Republican House can't unite to pass immigration reform is somehow about the Senate filibuster. Yes, he's a dolt.
That's not going to make any conservative feel like they've got to stick their neck out to pass anything. The hard-liners' bill will certainly fail. The second, supposedly moderate one that the Freedom Caucus interfered in, is looking very, very doubtful. "I haven't seen evidence that the momentum is there to pass it," CNN reports one senior Republican aide telling them.
Meanwhile, thousands of young children and babies are being held in concentration camps and neither bill does anything concrete to constrain Trump from taking more hostages.