House Democrats are hoping to reignite the debate over a comprehensive immigration reform bill this week through a procedural stunt meant to force a vote or, at the very least, create a pressure point for Republicans who are stalling on the issue.
A senior Democratic aide said Monday that the procedural move, known as a discharge petition, will be unveiled at a Wednesday morning press event, followed by members signing onto the document on the House floor.
Faced with a minority in the House and a majority conference that largely opposes their efforts, Democrats have turned to the discharge petition maneuver this year on issues such as unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage and now immigration. If a petition receives 218 signatures, it will force a vote on the House floor, even if the legislation in question is opposed by the majority party leadership that controls the House calendar.
Democrats hope to pressure Republicans to hold a vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which they argue could pass if it went up for a vote before the entire House. A GOP leadership aide said it’s unlikely the petition will get the required signatures, and if it does not, there is no chance the bill will go for a vote.
Thankfully, this is probably just a distraction from the looming Obamacare open enrollment deadline (expect a lot of them this week). That’s a good thing, because John Boehner loves him some comprehensive immigration reform talk, even though he was persuaded to lay off of it until the election. This is precisely the kind of squirrel that the Dems know Boehner will chase in most cases so they will keep this up.