ChrisWeigant.com

Seeking Five More Brave Republican Moderates

[ Posted Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 – 16:59 PDT ]

As astonishing as it sounds, the House of Representatives may actually take action on immigration reform before the midterm elections happen. Paul Ryan isn't too happy about this state of affairs, since his original plan was to do absolutely nothing about the problem caused by Donald Trump attempting to end the DACA program. Ryan had planned for the remainder of the year for the House to only hold votes on bills that might conceivably help Republicans out on the campaign trail, and being forced to confront immigration was definitely not part of that plan. But he may have no choice, since he is now being pushed from two different directions -- within his own caucus -- to hold such votes.

On the one side are Republican immigration moderates. These are GOP House members in districts where they might find themselves at risk in November for following the party line on immigration. Either their districts contain a high number of Latino voters or a high number of suburban women who don't buy into the "get tough on immigration" way of thinking. Either way, they've got to show their constituents somehow that they're willing to buck their own party by voting to reinstate the DACA program.

The other side hitting Ryan is the ultraconservative Tea Partiers (now known as the "Freedom Caucus"). They are trying to force a vote on an incredibly hardline bill on immigration, and they think they now have the leverage to do so (by holding their votes on a farm bill in abeyance until Ryan promises them a vote on their immigration bill).

Ryan is caught in the middle of all this, and has taken the downright laughable position that he doesn't want to pass anything which President Trump might veto. Strange how he didn't have such qualms when President Obama was in office (see: the 60 or 70 votes Ryan held to repeal Obamacare, for instance). Ryan also is trying to follow the Child Molester Rule (formerly known as the Hastert Rule), which states that the only bills that a Republican speaker should allow votes on are those that are supported by a majority of Republicans. But his hand may be forced anyway.

The moderates are relying on a parliamentary maneuver known as a discharge petition. If a majority of House members sign such a petition, the speaker must call a vote on the floor within a specified period of time (within the month, essentially). So far, 20 Republicans have signed the discharge petition on immigration reform. They only need five more to do so, and then if every Democrat signs on (as expected), they'll have their majority.

What would follow would be a sort of free-for-all. Ryan could bring up four or five different bills on the subject, including the one the hardliners are pushing, and then whichever passes with the biggest majority gets sent over to the Senate (under what's known as a "queen of the hill" vote). The hardliner bill probably doesn't even have enough votes to reach a majority, so it's seen as a non-starter. A reasonable bill that Democrats and moderate Republicans agree upon would probably wind up at the top of the hill, which would put a huge amount of pressure on the Senate to act.

Politically, it would also put the lie to Trump's favorite talking point on DACA -- that somehow Democrats are responsible for the problem (not true, Trump is), and that Democrats really don't want to solve the problem, because they'd rather have it as a campaign issue than to actually do anything about it (also not true, which would be proven by a House bill passing with overwhelming Democratic support). If the Senate acted on the bill and then Trump vetoed it, it would be plain to all that it was Trump himself who enjoys keeping the issue alive politically rather than actually fixing the problem. After all, he caused the problem to begin with, by trying to end DACA.

Because the discharge petition is gaining strength (two more Republicans signed it today, and there are other GOP moderates who might make up the five more signatures needed in the next few days), the Tea Partiers are attempting to head the issue off at the pass. Ryan previously promised them a vote on their pet bill, but has not followed through on that promise yet. So they're withholding their votes from the farm bill Ryan is trying to pass to force a vote on their immigration bill. This tactic, if successful, would complicate the moderates' effort. Even if the Tea Party immigration bill doesn't pass the House, the fact that they had voted on it would require rewriting the discharge petition, thus resetting the clock. If the Tea Partiers stall long enough (again, even if their bill doesn't actually pass), then this might push the discharge vote back to being held after the August recess.

Whether the Tea Partiers manage to stall or not, though, the end result might be the same -- an actual bipartisan immigration reform bill passing the House that would solve the DACA problem once and for all. Border security money might be included in such a deal, but it's likely that funding for Trump's wall won't.

This would be an incredibly rare event -- a Republican House passing real bipartisan immigration reform that actually solves a big problem the voters want to see solved, during an election year. Whether the Senate acted on the bill or not, it would certainly raise the profile of the issue right in the middle of the midterm election cycle. Which is precisely what Paul Ryan doesn't want to see happen.

He may have no choice, however. If five more brave Republican moderates can be found, then his hands will have been effectively tied. Democrats, together with these bold GOP moderates, may walk away with a real political victory to campaign on. Such a bill passing would be a clear sign of who is on the right side of the issue and who is not, right before an election. Even if the bill dies in the Senate or is vetoed by Trump, it will still be a potent issue in the campaign -- exactly what Trump is accusing the Democrats of wanting. If the Senate did pass the bill and Trump signed it, then (according to his logic) that would rob the Democrats of a big campaign issue -- but I certainly don't expect such cohesive logic from Trump, at this point.

Personally, I am rather astonished at the bravery of the moderate Republicans who are forcing the issue so effectively. Without their initiative, we would be stuck with the status quo at least until after the election. Twenty House Republicans are now in complete revolt against their own speaker, because they think their chances of getting re-elected will be higher if they fix the DACA problem than if they do nothing. Five more are needed to complete this coup. If they can pull it off and successfully pass a decent bill, we will all get to see the rarest of Washington events -- Congress actually doing what is right, in a bipartisan manner, just before an election.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

31 Comments on “Seeking Five More Brave Republican Moderates”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    Let's hope!

  2. [2] 
    TheStig wrote:

    It is just about impossible to keep up with the breaking news.The political storm keeps intensifying. I half expect to see Donald Trump come swirling by on a cyclone....riding a golf cart of course...and morphing into Mussolini as cackles out of view.

    Brew youself a pot of strong coffee CW....it's going to be another long night. You are a credit to ink jet stained wretchs.

  3. [3] 
    neilm wrote:

    In some ways Steve Bannon is right - we are in a clash of civilizations ... the pre-enlightenment vs. the post-enlightenment.

    Are we going to see other people as people or as another tribe? There is no doubt in my mind, no matter how many fairy believers are stuffed on to the Supreme Court, the country will go where it has to. Trump and the 1500's are condemned to the trash can of history, we just need to show we are the people to deliver the final nail in this sad coffin.

  4. [4] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "Twenty House Republicans are now in complete revolt against their own speaker, because they think their chances of getting re-elected will be higher if they fix the DACA problem than if they do nothing."

    It seems as if you are saying that if citizens can convince candidates that the candidates will not get the citizen's votes unless they take certain actions that the candidates will take those actions to get re-elected or elected.

    So if that is what you're saying, then if citizens were to register at One Demand that they only intend to vote for small contribution candidates, that in districts where enough citizens were participating that it could influence a candidate to revolt against the Big Money interests in order to win the election.

    And if citizens that were not going to vote anyway in 2018 could be mobilized in to participate in One Demand in 2018 and showed their commitment by writing in their own name to register a vote against the Big Money candidates and demonstrate and create demand for small contribution candidates in 2020 and other citizens participated in 2020 when they see what the 2018 participants did in 2018 it could make many candidates in 2020 feel that they must be small contribution candidates in order to win in 2020.

    All this needs to get started is one brave reality-based blogger to inform citizens about this opportunity now.

    I suppose that would also be an incredibly rare event. But it is just as likely, if not more likely, to become a reality than a DACA bill getting passed.

    And it doesn't require anything more than one reality-based blogger actually addressing reality.

  5. [5] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Trump singing the blues....

    Don't know why
    I can't seem to shake this guy.
    Stormy's lawer!
    Hanging about in my foyer.
    He's on the TV all the time.

  6. [6] 
    neilm wrote:
  7. [7] 
    neilm wrote:

    I'm wondering what Trump will give to Kim Jong-Un just to meet with him now that Un has Trump on the "I'm going to win the Nobel Peace Prize" hook. I predicted as much, sorry to toot my own horn:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2018/05/10/what-kim-jong-un-and-donald-trump-will-be-bargaining-for/#comment-118947

    Remember that meeting with the current U.S. President was the bargaining chip all other presidents kept for significant concessions, not table stakes.

    Good dealmaker my ass.

  8. [8] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Neilm - I agree with everything you've posted in this thread so far. Everything.

    Stig - I like the parody, but now I've got it stuck in my head!

  9. [9] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Well Weigantians, we're now one full year and gawdonlyknows how many $millions into Mueller's "collusion" witch - er, I mean investigation, and Mueller and his whole team have damn near faded from the news.

    Of course, I'm forced to point out, with a generous measure of "Told Ya So" pure Schadenfreude, that I told y'all (many times!), that regardless of how counterintuitive it seems to Dems/Libs, there just ain't no law against colluding with ANYBODY, not even filthy Communists and/or Russians, to get dirt on your political opponents!

    Of course, y'all responded (also many times) that for certain there has just gotta be hundreds of side effects that ABSOLUTELY MUST surely be against some law somewhere (never mind the 1st ammendment), thereby guaranteeing that Trump was a goner.

    But hey, please don't all now slash your wrists. After all, you can take comfort that 13 Russians have Mueller's indictments hanging over their heads. (Actually, I think that number is down to 7 now. I heard 6 of them died laughing.)

  10. [10] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    As for the Topic of the Day -

    I've been telling my friends lately that, after the midterms, the big Gig against Trump will be that he squandered the Republican majorities that he has enjoyed these last two years. After all, having effective majorities in both houses of congress, on the Supreme Court, and in a majority of statehouses all at the same time is rare enough in the modern age that someone could legitimately say, "And what did you do with that legislative juggernaut?"

    Trump tweets today: "...we have had the most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history..!" This is patently untrue, as all but his most slavish followers are already aware.

    DE-struction is always easier than CON-struction, and no one has proved that better than Trump, but everything that he's 'accomplished' through executive orders can be undone on the first day of the next Democratic president's term. Many of the Cabinet departments will have to be re-staffed and re-oriented, most importantly the State Department, which has been gutted of many of its most experienced people, and that might take awhile to undo.

    And it could take decades to restore America's reputation in the world. There's that.

    But Legislatively, Trump has actually accomplished much less than, say, Jimmy Carter did during his first term. The Tax Cut Bill, the only major piece of new legislation to come out of Congress in the last two years, could be undone by new Democratic majorities before Trump is even out of office.

    Of course, this isn't entirely Trump's fault - both Ryan and McConnell have auras of competency that they don't deserve - but when the dust of the midterms has settled, and the GOP surveys the landscape for 2020's big race, they might realize that they've fallen for yet another of Trump's scams: like Trump University, Trump steaks and Trump casinos, the hype of the Trump administration has exceeded the actual substance.

    And many of the GOP faithful, seeing Gay marriage alive and intact, abortion on demand still the law of the land, and most of the gun laws still on the books will look up and wonder what Trump actually did for the most important items on their agenda.

    And that (save for the possibility of an interview with Mueller) might be the only real 'moment of truth' that Trump experiences during this whole debacle.

  11. [11] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CRS-

    What are you smoking and/or drinking? It's the second round of the fight - and your guy is, in fact, getting beaten up pretty badly.

    Collusion isn't inherently a criminal activity, but can be playpen where all sorts of crimes are committed. In no particular order, tax evasion, bribery, destruction of evidence, espionage, money laundering, campaign laws, and lying to the wrong sorts of officials are all very much on the table. It might be all wrapped in a criminal conspiracy bow, but doesn't have to be.

    You don't get to close the case. The fun is likely just beginning. Don't go running to the parking lot to beat the traffic home just yet.

  12. [12] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Stucki [9]: Mueller and his whole team have damn near faded from the news.

    You must be watching/listening to very different news than I am, because this has been a very busy week for the Mueller folks, who are way ahead of the press on most of the most salacious leads in the case. Turns out, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a Russian colluder in Trump Tower during the transition.

    Following on the seizure of Cohen's records, investigators have been chasing down leads that implicate Cohen in pay-for-play deals ranging from AT&T to the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Qatar. The Qatari official involved in that deal claimed to have outright bribed Michael Flynn, and a photograph of him going into a meeting at Trump Tower was posted online.

    Since you're not up on the news, I should also tell you that a deal between the Russians and Qatar has also been uncovered, in which Qatar was able to use the proceeds of an oil deal to 'pay off' Trump's inner circle using the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

    At this point, Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Steve Bannon are about the only transition officials not accused of meeting with Russians during the campaign, and both Pence and Bannon have been caught lying about what they knew and when they knew it.

    It appears that Right Wing media has been keeping much of this from their readers and listeners. You need to start watching Rachel Maddow - call it 'opposition research' if you have to justify it to yourself. She's got a lot online if you need to catch up.

  13. [13] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Stig & Balthy

    I'm totally aware that DC is full of crooks, and I have no doubt that a bunch of them are doing their damndest to get rich by any means, fair or foul, but you and Mueller don't score any points nabbing Trumps hangers-on. You have believed since day one that Trump's collusion would lead to his downfall, and as of now, your chances don't look all that good, regardless of which round of the fight we're in.

    Again, what does it matter which "transition officials" did or didn't "meet with Russians"??? "Meeting with Russians" is NOT illegal. (Perhaps I should say not FEDERALLY illegal. There may well be a county or a city law against meeting with Russians, but who gives a damn?)

    Sorry, can't get Rachel Maddow for the same reason I can't get Fox. All my TV (the little I watch) comes over an old-fashioned roof-top antenna. No cable in my rural area, and I wouldn't have it were it available.

    BTW, if it encourages you, I do watch Amy Goodman's daily nonsense on PBS. She keeps me kinda up to date on your side's opinions, plus I check Huffpost daily. That ought to be plenty of "opposition research", right?

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The president's boundless ignorance should be what leads to his downfall.

  15. [15] 
    neilm wrote:

    Hi CRS:

    WRT to Mueller and Trump, once a prosecutor starts investigating a potential crime they are required to prosecute any other crimes they uncover during the investigation.

    I've said all along that the "collusion" is probably a dead end, mostly because I don't think any intelligence officer would trust Trump or his offspring with anything they wanted kept secret.

    I think the consensus around here is that Trump should be concerned about a past history of money laundering - that it has been suspicious that, for example, he was able to buy Turnberry in Scotland for cash when he has little or no access to Western capital markets. The Trump SoHo project was also seen as very likely to involve some criminal activity.

    Mueller has been very productive so far, and is ahead of the curve when it comes to results in comparison with similar prior investigations (see: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-muellers-first-year-compares-to-watergate-iran-contra-and-whitewater/ ).

    Also, I'm a bit disappointed that you are lining up with the latest "talking points" from the right from people who are very keen to close this investigation down as soon as possible - I assumed you were skeptical enough to wonder why, if this is a waste of time because there are no crimes, there was such a concerted effort to program the base to accept a forced shutdown.

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the president has largely made himself irrelevant, by repeatedly saying and doing things too stupid for anyone on the world stage to take him seriously. i personally think he won't run for a second term, and he'll be out of office before the investigation ends, making it largely irrelevant as well.

    JL

  17. [17] 
    Kick wrote:

    Happy 1-year anniversary to Bobby Three Sticks and company.

    So to those who think there is no conspiracy... something to ponder: Why would a guy like Paul Manafort work for free when he owed millions of dollars to Oleg Deripaska?

    Another guilty plea/flip today... Manafort's ex son-in-law. :)

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm
    3

    Trump and the 1500's are condemned to the trash can of history, we just need to show we are the people to deliver the final nail in this sad coffin.

    Did somebody say "coffin"? Wholly appropriate since many of them will die in prison.

  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    4

    It seems as if you are saying that it doesn't require anything more than one reality-based blogger actually addressing One Demand to make all your dreams come true and that all you need to get started is one brave reality-based blogger to inform citizens about this opportunity now.

    So if that is what you're saying, then you need to get started with your own blog now. Hurry up... TYA... time's a wastin' :)

  20. [20] 
    Kick wrote:

    neilm
    7

    I'm wondering what Trump will give to Kim Jong-Un just to meet with him now that Un has Trump on the "I'm going to win the Nobel Peace Prize" hook.

    I'm thinking Trump will gift Kim with... Dennis Rodman. :)

    I predicted as much, sorry to toot my own horn

    Well, you did... toot. :)

    Good dealmaker my ass.

    Trump is Putin's little "witch." Nothing will happen that Putin doesn't orchestrate with Kim and Xi since he's playing Trump like the little witch that he is.

  21. [21] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    9

    Of course, I'm forced to point out, with a generous measure of "Told Ya So" pure Schadenfreude, that I told y'all (many times!), that regardless of how counterintuitive it seems to Dems/Libs, there just ain't no law against colluding with ANYBODY, not even filthy Communists and/or Russians, to get dirt on your political opponents!

    Wrong again, Stucki! Are you intentionally lying or just refusing to crack a book? :)

    11 CFR 110.20 - Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510)

    Pertinent sections:

    (b) Contributions and donations by foreign nationals in connection with elections. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.

    (g) Solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of contributions and donations from foreign nationals. No person shall knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.

    (j) Donations by foreign nationals to inaugural committees. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a donation to an inaugural committee, as defined in 11 CFR 104.21(a)(1). No person shall knowingly accept from a foreign national any donation to an inaugural committee.

    [67 FR 69950, Nov. 19, 2002, as amended at 69 FR 59780, Oct. 6, 2004]

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/11/110.20

  22. [22] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    As far as I'm aware, nobody is even claiming that any "contributions, donations, or other things of value" ever changed hands. You wanna try and include advice, "dirt", secrets, etc. under that definition, have at it.

    Maybe you can try and get the Supreme Court to criminalize verbiage, but I'm betting agin' it.

  23. [23] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    21

    As far as I'm aware, nobody is even claiming that any "contributions, donations, or other things of value" ever changed hands.

    So you're saying you're unaware.

    Maybe you can try and get the Supreme Court to criminalize verbiage, but I'm betting agin' it.

    Limits on freedom of speech already exist and have been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court. Crack some books, Stucki, seriously. :)

  24. [24] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    You're absolutely correct, there are indeed "limits on freedom of speech". I just Googled it and No.1 on the restricted list is "Any speech that may cause a Dem/Lib to lose an election".

    The obvious problem is that when the Trump campaign went to Moscow to get the promised dirt on Hillary, the Russians did all the talking. The Trump campaign was only listening. So now you're gonna have to deal with that constitutional ammendment (I forget now which number it is) that guarantees "Freedom of Listening" for which as of this moment, there are NO exceptions, right?

  25. [25] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    neilm (6)-
    Thank you. I'll give him a try.

  26. [26] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    23

    You're absolutely correct, there are indeed "limits on freedom of speech". I just Googled it and No.1 on the restricted list is "Any speech that may cause a Dem/Lib to lose an election".

    You seem to have swallowed quite a large pitcher of the GOP Kool-Aid wherein you spew back ridiculous talking points and propaganda created for the bleating sheeple. This particular talking point falls apart when the seemingly willfully ignorant allow themselves to let it sink in that the Trump campaign was being investigated for potential criminal activity long BEFORE the outcome of the election was known.

    The obvious problem is that when the Trump campaign went to Moscow to get the promised dirt on Hillary, the Russians did all the talking.

    So you're saying you're unaware, and now you're proving it. The scenario you've outlined here would be a clear violation of 11 CFR 110.20, prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510).

    The Trump campaign was only listening. So now you're gonna have to deal with that constitutional ammendment (I forget now which number it is) that guarantees "Freedom of Listening" for which as of this moment, there are NO exceptions, right?

    You tell me. Being that I don't reside on Bullshit Mountain in the land of Alternative Facts deep inside the bubble floating along in blissful ignorance in the far reaches of the Alternate Universe, I have no idea what is contained in your Constitution or the enumeration thereon, but I am aware that it changes frequently depending on the subject matter, which obviously explains why it's difficult to pin down the number of the amendments. :)

  27. [27] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    Re 11CFR 110.20. I'm doubtful that "disbursement" covers verbiage, but don't despair, keep your hopes up for another year at least.

  28. [28] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Kick

    In fact, were you to heed your own advice and do a little "book cracking", you'd discover that the word "disburse" translates from the original Latin into English as 'To remit from the purse".

    Of course, you're still able to contend that the Russians keep their verbiage in written form within their purses, and you might even get Sottomayor to agree with you, but not many of the other Supremes will.

  29. [29] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki

    We'll just have to chalk this up to yet another episode of "I know things you don't," Stucki. But, hey... in the pathetic words of you: "Don't now slash your wrists."

    Re 11CFR 110.20. I'm doubtful that "disbursement" covers verbiage, but don't despair, keep your hopes up for another year at least.

    My wrists and my hopes will be just fine, and might I add that it's a real hoot to watch the woefully uninformed commenter who insists ad nauseam that "there just ain't no law against colluding with ANYBODY, not even filthy Communists and/or Russians, to get dirt on your political opponents" flailing in his pathetic attempts to interpret law which he repeatedly claims does not exist.

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aid, Stucki, and while you're swallowing the Orange Goop, ask yourself how pathetic it is that those in the Trump campaign's defense for conspiring with foreign adversaries to undermine the United States is their right to "free speech." There is a very long list of traitors and/or those who've committed espionage against America who tried that identical argument in the Supreme Court and failed miserably and repeatedly. If that was not an incontrovertible fact, there would have been absolutely no reason whatsoever for Flynn and Gates to flip like pancakes and sing like canaries. :)

  30. [30] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @kick,

    i'll take the 28th amendment.

    http://tick.wikia.com/wiki/28th_Amendment

    JL

  31. [31] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    29

    The Tick wiki!

    I know, right?! :)

    Crime, nastiness and evil rear their fowl odorous heads in every corner of the globe, and that's saying something because globes don't even have corners! ~ The Tick

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