Moderate Republicans are giving their colleagues until June 7 to find a legislative fix for the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children, or they will try to use a special process to force a vote over the GOP leaders' objections, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) said Thursday.
Denham, frustrated by the leaders' refusal to hold a vote on legislation to help so-called Dreamers, launched a rarely used House procedure this month that would force a vote if at least 218 members support it.
As of Thursday, they had 213 signatures of support, including 23 Republicans and the rest Democrats. Denham says the remaining five signers that are needed are waiting to see if negotiations succeed.
House leaders have been scrambling instead to reach an agreement on immigration legislation between conversative and moderate Republican factions in the House and avoid the embarassment of having their hands forced.
Denham said "an agreement in principle" was reached between the factions before the House left Thursday for its weeklong Memorial Day break. It will be presented to all House Republicans at a two-hour meeting scheduled for June 7, Denham said.
"We're still prepared to move the rest of the votes at the point that this discussion breaks down," Denham said. "We are up against a hard date of the afternoon of the 7th."
Exactly what a compromise bill would look like remains a subject of debate. Denham said it would include provisions to enhance border security and provide green cards for Dreamers, allowing them to apply for citizenship after 12 years. But conservatives are balking at offering citizenship to Dreamers.
Also unclear is whether the compromise bill would include money for the border wall Trump wants to build. Even if that passed the House, it would need to be approved by the Senate and signed by Trump.
If no compromise is reached, the petition would trigger a vote on four immigration bills, each of which would help Dreamers to some degree, but differ on how much border security or immigration enforcement they include in exchange.
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