The House of Representatives failed Thursday to move forward one of two Republican-led immigration reform bills it has been considering.
The bill — introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Michael McCaul (R-TX),
Raul Labrador (R-ID), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and John Carter (R-TX) — took a hard line stance on border security, cut legal immigration, and offered no path to citizenship for young immigrants known as DREAMers. The bill offered only a temporary “contingent nonimmigrant” status to beneficiaries of the Deferred Action with Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gave certain young immigrants temporary work authorization and deportation relief and is currently stuck in a legal battle after Trump tried to end the program last fall. It also didn’t stop the separation of immigrant families at the U.S. border, something not fully addressed by Trump’s executive order from Wednesday.
On Thursday afternoon, the bill, known as “Goodlatte-McCaul” failed by a vote of 193-231. Every Democrat present and 41 Republicans voted against the bill.
Neither that proposal nor the second bill (which was supposed to be considered on Thursday, but has now been delayed to Friday) was expected to pass — and the whole process leading up to the vote has been chaotic. On Wednesday afternoon, Republican lawmakers couldn’t even seem to agree on what exactly they would vote on the next day.
The second bill is considered a compromise between different GOP factions. It would create a path to citizenship for recipients of the DACA program, but only in return for but only in return for $25 billion for the border wall and cuts to paths of legal immigration, like getting rid of the diversity visa and limiting family visas. It also attempts to stop the separation of undocumented families crossing the U.S. border by asking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to detain families together while the parents are going through criminal proceedings.
On Thursday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) referenced the fact that neither bill seemed likely to move forward.
“I think we’re advancing the cause even if something doesn’t pass,” Ryan said at a news conference. “I think these are the seeds that are going to be planted for an ultimate solution.”
“A lot of our members want to be able to express themselves by voting for the policies they like,” he added.
According to the Washington Post, many Republican lawmakers and aides also said Trump reduced the likelihood that the bills would move forward after he tweeted Thursday morning that neither would be able to pass the Senate anyway.
After the failure of the Goodlatte-McCaul bill on Thursday, opinions hadn’t changed.
“I don’t think the prospects for tomorrow’s vote are any better than I thought the prospects were for this one,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-NC) told Fox News after the vote.
By voting on the bill on Thursday, the House effectively killed a discharge petition that was meant to bypass Ryan and force a vote on a series of proposals that would have tried to find a permanent solution to the DACA program. Although every single Democrat and 23 Republicans signed that petition, it fell two signatures short after the GOP leadership convinced the rest of their caucus not to sign. Trump threatened to veto any proposals that didn’t include funding for the border wall he previously promised would be fully paid for by Mexico.