February 24, 2014
Immigration activists probably shouldn’t count on a seldom-used procedural tactic called a discharge petition to jump-start stalled immigration-reform efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Friday that House Democrats intend to pursue the strategy, which also recently was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the chief Democratic negotiator on the bipartisan comprehensive immigration-reform bill that passed the Senate last year.
But Hoyer also suggested such a petition would have a tough time attracting the 218 lawmaker signatures required to discharge the legislation from committee and allow Democrats to bring it to the floor in spite of House Republican leaders. The effort likely would need the cooperation of 15 to 19 House Republicans, assuming all 199 House Democrats sign the petition and depending on which party wins four vacant House seats. Only three Republicans have signed on to the Democratic House immigration bill, which basically is the Senate-passed measure with a less-stringent border-security section.