Members of the House Conservative Republican Study Committee tell senior White House adviser Stephen Miller they need an explicit tweet from President Donald J. Trump before they will vote for immigration legislation providing amnesty for illegal aliens.
House Republicans are trying to prepare a compromise immigration bill for a vote next week alongside an existing “conservative proposal.” According to Bloomberg News, this legislative strategy has President Trump’s blessing:
Stephen Miller, the main architect of the Trump administration’s approach on immigration, met with GOP lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday and told them this was probably their last and best chance to pass conservative immigration legislation, according to a person in the room who asked not to be identified when describing private meetings.
The person said Miller assured lawmakers that Trump supports a plan laid out by House leaders late Tuesday that will put two immigration bills on the floor next week: a GOP compromise bill being pulled together by leaders of different Republican factions and one favored by conservatives that is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
Lawmakers from the conservative Republican Study Committee told Miller, however, that immigration is such a hot-button issue in their districts that they need an explicit and public Trump tweet — not just a closed door meeting with a staffer — to give them political cover to vote for legislation that hardliners could label as “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, according to the person in the meeting. . . .
Trump supports both the Goodlatte bill and the GOP compromise bill since they check off all the White House’s policy priorities, and Miller encouraged Republicans to consider voting “yes” on both measures, according to the person who heard his presentation.
In order to stop the some members from signing a discharge petition to force floor votes on four different immigration bills, including some favored by Democrats, the Republican Congressional leaders promised to introduce a separate bill before August to overhaul the guest worker program and mandate that all states use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of employees.
The primary defeat of South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford seems to have convinced some Republicans that it is wise to stay in Trump’s shadow on the issues of immigration and border security, which Trump made a central part of his campaign and a reoccurring theme in his policy demands.