Despite President Donald Trump’s stated ― if not, at times, muddled ― support for two GOP immigration bills, House Republicans are on course to reject both proposals in the coming days.
The House rejected the more conservative bill Thursday afternoon 193-231, with all Democrats and 41 Republicans voting no on the so-called Goodlatte bill, a measure written by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). And prospects look dim for a second Republican proposal, the “compromise” bill, which was abruptly rescheduled for a Friday vote.
But the takeaway for many conservatives was not that House Republicans rejected their hardline immigration ideas; it’s just how close the Goodlatte bill came to passing.
Leadership has been telling members for months that the Goodlatte bill was far from passing. So it was a bit surprising Thursday when the legislation ended up only 20 votes short of a passing threshold.
Yes, the bill failed. And finding the last 20 votes for the proposal would be very difficult, if not impossible. But conservatives have shown that the vast majority of the GOP conference is with them on immigration. Two conservative members pointed out to HuffPost that, with a more aggressive campaign from Trump, as well as more pressure from GOP leadership — which had taken a more hands-off approach toward whipping this bill — and Republicans may be dangerously close to passing the Goodlatte bill, or some modified version of it.
There is the potential for a bipartisan compromise on immigration, but no Republican Speaker who put it on the floor could keep his job. And the Republican conference cannot form a consensus that both the wing that puts the highest priority on corporate interests and the wing that puts the highest priority on racism find acceptable, and as Fuller & Foley say, Trump has strengthened the latter wing, making a bipartisan compromise even more inconceivable. (And of course even if the Goodlatte faction could get a bill through the House, it would have zero chance of getting 60 votes in the Senate.
In conclusion, the failure of Congress to the act can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic Party, as I’m sure Trump will be tweeting soon.