Will the 34 House Republicans Who Urged Action This Year Assert Their Power?
Last week 34 House Republicans issued a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) calling for a “permanent legislative solution” for DACA recipients before the end of this year. With the moment of truth at hand, it’s now time for pro-Dreamer Republicans to take the next step: demand that their leadership include Dreamer relief in the next must-pass spending bill on December 22nd, or else.
If enough of these pro-Dreamer House Republicans stand up and say “no Dream, no vote” to Republican leadership, then a bipartisan deal that keeps Dreamers in America will be negotiated and enacted. If they don’t, and Republicans stand together to resist a resolution of this crisis on the 22nd, this inaction could expose Dreamers to deportation.
Speaker Ryan and other Republican leaders are doing everything they can to delay and derail Dreamer relief. They are pretending that they’ll fix the DACA crisis later, but their promises ring hollow. When they say the way forward is a “standalone bill” through “regular order” that will be tackled “next year,” anyone who knows how Congress works understands this is political speak for “never going to happen.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The 34 House Republicans that support action on Dreamer relief this year have it within their power to deliver permanent relief for these amazing young Americans-in-waiting. It’s now or never. If enough of the signers on the House Republican letter follow the lead of their colleagues Rep. Curbelo and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and insist Dreamers be included in the year-end spending package, it will happen.
We appreciate the sentiment expressed in the House Republican letter, but sentiment will not pass legislation. What matters is whether you will use your leverage – your vote – to ensure Dreamer relief actually gets acted on and across the finish line.
And let’s be clear: a vote for an end-of-the-year spending bill that does not include Dreamer relief is a vote to deport Dreamers. That’s right. Any bill that funds the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year will include funds for Trump’s unshackled deportation force. And since “later” means “never,” a vote to fund deportations without a DACA fix will go down in history as a vote for money that will be used, inevitably, to deport remarkable young people who grew up in America.
The choice is crystal clear: insist on Dreamer relief now, and be credited with making history; or vote for a spending bill without Dreamer relief, and make a different kind of history.
By way of background, it would only take 24 House Republicans to side with the 193 Democrats in the House in order to compel action for Dreamers. This contingent of GOP votes is larger in number than the notorious House Freedom Caucus and is comprised of Republicans who face competitive 2018 re-elections. If they want to follow the Republican herd and vote for the deportation of Dreamers, so be it. Hasta la vista. But if they want to distinguish themselves from the Republican herd and improve their chances of surviving in 2018, they can do so by stepping up and forcing action. They have power, but only if they choose to use it.