The Republican DACA Discharge Petition Signers

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

As most are aware, there is a discharge petition circulating in the House regarding the DACA issue.  To summarize, it takes 218 signatures to force House action on a series of four bills dealing with this issue.  To date, there are 215 signatures since two Democrats who were initially reluctant placed their signatures on the document.  Should they get three more signatures, Paul Ryan would then have to place the four competing bills for a vote on the House floor without going through the committee process.  The bill receiving the most votes, provided it constitutes a majority, would then be presented to the Senate in a process known as “Queen of the hill.”

As I stated in a previous article, this writer firmly believes that Obama’s original DACA executive order was unconstitutional.  It is the proper role of Congress to pass immigration and naturalization laws and the proper role of the Executive branch to carry out those laws.  Using wide latitude in the use of “prosecutorial discretion,” Obama by-passed Congress and essentially rewrote immigration law to deal with a certain segment of the illegal immigrant population- some 800,000 by most estimates, not counting the parents who brought the youngsters here illegally.  President Trump then rescinded the order and asked Congress for a permanent fix.  By most accounts, he offered the Democrats a rather lenient offer with some requirements which they declared non-starters.  Hence, here we are!

This article focuses on the 23 Republicans who have signed the petition thus far.  It is obvious that Ryan did not want this issue to arise in a midterm election year and there is no guarantee, if this prevails, that the Senate will pass or even take up anything forwarded to it by the House.  Already McConnell has suspended the August recess to deal with appropriations bills and confirmations.  Throwing this at the Senate may not sit too well except among those Senators under the erroneous assumption that doing something will win Hispanic voters in 2018 and beyond (we’re looking at you John McCain and Jeff Flake!).

Basically, we can divide these “renegade” Republicans into four broad categories with some overlap in certain areas.  The first group is the GOP-held districts with Latino majority populations where their electoral chances in 2018 are precarious and includes Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), David Valadao (CA-21), and William Hurd (TX-23).  Curbelo is the one who actually filed the discharge petition with the House.  All three of these Representatives are described as either libertarian-leaning or moderate Republicans.  I call this group the “Stupid Panderers.”

The second group is the threatened Republican district members without Latino-majority populations (but, perhaps, a sizable portion of their constituency).  All of these are either moderate or libertarian leaning Republicans.  They are: Jeff Denham (CA-10), Mike Coffman (CO-6), John Faso (NY-19), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Steven Knight (CA-25), John Katko (NY-24), Erik Paulsen (MN-3) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1).  Among these eight districts, the average Cook PVI is 0.1 in favor of Democrats .  This is the “Politically Expedient” group.  They are trying to make the case to constituents that they are trying to do something to resolve the DACA issue legislatively and they can go back to their districts and say so.

The third group are the five retirees, or the “We Don’t Give an F” group.  They are Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Charlie Dent (PA-7), Ryan Costello (PA-6). Dave Reichert (WA-8), and Dave Trott (MI-11).  All are described as moderate or libertarian-leaning Republicans.  In the case of Ros-Lehtinen, she represents a Latino-majority district, so that likely figures into her calculation.

Finally, there is the “WTF?” group- Republicans in relatively or definitely safe GOP districts.  These are the confounding group since they number seven, the second largest group.  Other than the fact that they share moderation or libertarian-leanings, it is difficult to understand their signing this petition.  Except in the case of Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) and Elise Stefanik (NY-21), only those two could be considered borderline safe with the remainder either likely or definitely safe.  With FL-25, it is a Latino-majority district also.  The other members of this group are Mia Love (UT-4), Fred Upton (MI-6), Chris Collins (NY-27), Mark Amodei (NV-2), and Tom Reed (NY-23).  Mia Love is probably the most surprising name in this category.  In her case, her likely November opponent has been running ads accusing Love of being part of a dysfunctional Congress.  Her motivation seems to be the inaction and the foot-dragging in committees.  Some of the others have expressed similar sentiments.

Whatever the motivation, it is clear that this is an effort to force the issue of immigration and DACA front and center in a tumultuous midterm election year.  The preferred path by Ryan, apparently, was to slow-motion measures and remove the issue until a new Congress (absent Ryan) is in place come 2019.  The outcome of those elections are an unknown right now, although the prognosticated blue wave is looking less likely.  Ryan’s roll of the dice counters the signer’s of this petition’s roll of the dice and it all comes down to three signatures.  What a way to run a country, eh?