"190 House Democrats Have Signed Petition To Force Immigration Reform Vote, Zero Republicans"
CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee
As of Wednesday afternoon, 190 U.S. representatives have signed a “discharge petition,” a rarely-used parliamentary maneuver, aimed at forcing a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. That number includes all but 9 members of the House Democratic Caucus. Because zero Republicans have signed on, supporters of the move are unlikely to obtain the required 217 signatures to circumvent the House GOP leadership’s efforts to stymie the bill.
Of the 9 Democrats who have not signed the discharge petition, one week after it was filed, two are co-sponsors of the bill it would bring up, H.R. 15 (Rep. Joe Garcia’s (D-FL) Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act). They include Peter Visclosky of Indiana and Tim Ryan of Ohio. A spokesman for Ryan told ThinkProgress that while he has not yet “physically signed” the discharge petition, he fully supports it and will do so in the near future. A spokeswoman for Visclosky declined to comment on his plans.
Seven other Democrats have not yet signed onto the discharge petition or the underlying bill. Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas opposes H.R. 15 because he opposes “[t]ying a pathway to citizenship to border security metrics.” The Offices of Reps. John Barrow of Georgia, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Collin Peterson on Minnesota, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Jim Matheson of Utah did not immediately respond to ThinkProgress inquiries about their plans.
Just three House Republicans have co-sponsored H.R. 15 — Reps. David Valadao and Jeff Denham of California and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. All three have said they will not sign the discharge petition.
While it is rare for members of the majority party to sign a discharge petition to overrule their own party leadership, it does happen on occasion. In 2002, 20 House Republicans joined with 197 Democrats and 1 independent to force a vote on campaign finance reform — one of a few dozen successful petitions. Just last year, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) signed a similar petition regarding a budget resolution and six very conservative Republicans signed a petition to force a vote on a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack in Benghazi.