House Republican Leaders Are Reneging on Yet Another Immigration Promise

Boy, did those "moderate" House Republicans let themselves get played over immigration, or what. Not only did they vote themselves to destroy any chance they had to bring a discharge petition to the floor to force votes they wanted, they believed their leaders when they were promised a follow-up vote on a sliver of what they wanted—a guest-worker program for farmers.


That vote would happen before August recess, Majority Leader (and would-be new Speaker) Kevin McCarthy promised, with assurances from Speaker Paul Ryan that he was with them. According to Politico, McCarthy told several concerned lawmakers that if they wouldn't sign on to the discharge petition to force legislation creating a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers to the floor, then he would make this guest-worker vote happen. At least two members, Reps. Dennis Ross (FL) and Dan Newhouse (WA) bought it—they didn't sign the discharge petition and it ultimately was two signatures short. Now, there won't be a vote on the guest-worker program before August four sources tell Politico because "Ryan does not want to hold a vote that’s certain to fail."

Ross went into a meeting with Ryan Monday evening hopping mad. "That was not the deal; the deal was that we’re taking it up regardless," he said before the meeting. "There are those of us [who] need to go back [home] and show that we're doing all we can to do what we said we would do." He came out of the meeting having apparently been duped by Ryan and team again. He says they promised him they wouldn't just have the vote in the fall, they'd actually try to whip it to get the 218 Republican votes it needs. (Because Democrats aren't going to be helping Republicans with bullshit immigration votes that fall far short of what needs to happen.)

This complicates life for McCarthy who wants to be speaker. His California delegation does not like this legislation because of provision that requires all of the employers benefiting from it have to verify the legal status of their hires. The California Farm Bureau is lobbying against it. "As the highest-ranking Californian in the U.S. Congress whose district lies within the most productive agricultural region in the nation," they along with more than 30 agricultural groups in the state wrote to McCarthy, "we want to reinforce to you that implementation of this bill would devastate food production in our state." Oops.

That puts the likelihood of there being any vote on this anytime this year pretty darned low. But it puts McCarthy in a tough position in his campaign to become speaker. The good news from him is that those guys who are going to be pissed at him are really easily bought off. They'll buy any promise he gives them. The other good news is that the likelihood of the next speaker being a Republican is getting smaller by the day.

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