Curbelo, Denham Promise Big, Deliver Nothing, End Up Hurting Dreamer Cause
Yesterday, the House Republican effort to pass an immigration bill crashed and burned. A bill negotiated by Speaker Paul Ryan, backed by “GOP moderates” and supported by President Trump, went down to defeat by a margin of 121-301. The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
For months, the so-called House Republican ‘moderates’ – led by Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) – promised to shake things up, force action and protect Dreamers. The media covered their every utterance and meetings, and they preened and postured as heroes. They were going to be courageous and independent, stand up to partisan Republican leaders, sign a discharge petition, and forge a bipartisan breakthrough on behalf of young people, who are American in all but paperwork.
We were skeptical. Was this to be a moment when long-ignored moderates rose up to put country over party, or was this merely a way to grab attention and look good come election time? Was this to be a serious effort to protect Dreamers, or an effort to protect their seats in Congress? Was this to be a show followed by a show vote followed by self-congratulation in the district for trying, or a drive followed by a result followed by renewed hope for a resolution in the Congress?
Now we know. Instead of standing up to the partisan Republican leadership in Congress, they bowed to them. They had 216 bipartisan votes – just two short of the necessary 218 to pass the discharge petition. Instead of getting all 218 signatures on a discharge petition and forcing action on a bipartisan Dream Act/border security bill that would have passed by an overwhelming margin, they traded it all for a negotiation that resulted in a bill receiving a paltry 121 votes. Instead of repositioning the Dream Act as something Congress has to enact immediately, their ineptitude set the cause back.
Today, we read in the Miami Herald that Rep. Carlos Curbelo is touting his heroic effort: “Despite this setback we will continue working with Republicans, with Democrats, with anyone who is sincerely interested in solving this problem” he says. On the same day, we learn that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending $350,000 on an ad buy that proclaims Curbelo is a “problem-solver” who is “independent and courageous” because he “is fighting to protect Dreamers” and “for real immigration reform.”
On a day that Curbelo should be apologizing to Dreamers and their allies in his district, he preens and postures some more, as his conservative allies prop him up.
Perhaps his constituents should know that if the Republicans somehow manage to hold onto the majority in the House this November, we should expect more of the same.