House Delays Vote on Immigration Bill After Conservative Plan Fails

| JUN 21, 2018 | 10:05 PM

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Lawmakers in the House decided to delay a vote on a compromise immigration bill until Friday after members of Congress voted down a more conservative reform bill.

The compromise proposal — negotiated by House leaders, conservative members of the Freedom Caucus, and moderates — was scheduled for a vote on Thursday, but after lawmakers asked for more time to review the bill or negotiate changes, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced the vote would be postponed a day.

The delay came after a hardline immigration bill championed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) failed on a 193-231 vote, according to Politico.

“I think it is a mistake that leadership is rushing this [compromise] bill to the floor today,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), one of the main negotiators of the measure, said before the delay was finalized. “I actually think with a little bit more conversation, we could actually get to an agreement on things.”

But despite giving lawmakers more time to consider the proposal, securing the 218 votes needed to pass the legislation remains a long shot.

President Donald Trump didn't help the bill's chances earlier on Thursday when he portrayed the vote as pointless since it likely wouldn't be able to pass in the Senate:

Trump spent much of Thursday lobbying skeptical Republicans and attacking dissenting Democrats on Twitter and in meetings with congressional leaders.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) earlier defended his decision to vote on both bills, emphasizing Trump's support for both measures even as lawmakers haggled over differences in the two bills.

“We're giving the members the ability to vote for the policy of their preference," Ryan told reporters Thursday morning, according to Politico. "The bills that are coming to the floor today are bills that if it got to [Trump's] desk he would sign it into law. Therefore it is a legitimate exercise.”

The immigration votes come as the Trump administration works to quell a public uproar over its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which led to migrant families being separated on the border before Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday ending the practice.

Even after signing the order, the president pushed Congress for more sweeping legislative reforms to border security and immigration despite expectations from many lawmakers that the current compromise measure will ultimately fail.