AP reports on the latest attempt by proponents of immigration reform in the House to force a vote on…well, something, anything, preferably a bill that includes relief for undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children. It’s an effort that once again has Rep. “New” Mike Coffman of Colorado on board, but as the AP reports, Speaker Paul Ryan says no dice–and has the majority to back it up:
Speaker Paul Ryan mocked an effort by breakaway Republicans — a group that includes U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado — to force election-year votes on rival immigration proposals as a drive that would produce “show ponies,” not legislation the president would sign into law…
“These immigration bills deserve a vote, and Republican leadership has been wrong in holding them up,” Coffman said in a statement. “The time to get this process moving is now.”
But Coffman and his GOP allies remained shy of their goal of collecting enough signatures to force a vote. Those Republicans, who have moderate views on the issue, could force GOP leaders to hold a vote on their plan if they gather at least 218 signatures, a majority of the chamber’s membership, including Democrats.
The maverick Republicans want to allow votes on a hard-right immigration bill, a liberal one, a bipartisan compromise and any immigration bill of Ryan’s choosing. Under their plan, the measure that passes with the most votes would prevail.
As you can see, this is not a petition to force one specific bill, but to force the consideration of multiple bills spanning the range of ideological approaches to immigration reform. We don’t yet know the details of the “hard-right” bill that would be included in this discharge petition, but it’s difficult to imagine that bill would be supportable by Democrats–or, we would sincerely hope, Rep. Coffman.
Despite the risk of setting up passage of legislation adverse to the goals of immigration reform proponents, this report seems to presume that all 193 House Democrats would sign on to the discharge petition. Even if that happens, though, Republican supporters of this effort are still reportedly 25 members short in their own caucus for it to be successful. That significant remaining hurdle is made far higher by Speaker Ryan’s move to firewall the rest of the GOP caucus by crapping on the whole effort.
All of which brings us back to the same point we’ve made time and time again about Rep. Coffman, as he continues to try to live down his Tom Tancredo-loving anti-immigrant past by playing lip service to immigration reform–despite the impossibility of getting such reform through a chamber controlled by his own party. Yes, obviously, if this effort were to actually succeed against the long odds it faces in Paul Ryan’s House, Coffman would be deserving of praise. The problem is that Coffman has never once succeeded in persuading fellow Republicans to address immigration reform in a manner consistent with the lip service he pays to the issue. And all the while, Coffman continues to vote for leadership like Paul Ryan who guarantee failure.
Is 2018 the year Coffman’s game is finally up? When the discharge petition fails, we’ll revisit the question.