Last week Republicans lost 41 votes from their own members as the hard-core Goodlatte immigration bill went down to defeat, by a vote of 193 to 231. That wasn’t surprising; the bill was well to the right of Donald Trump’s own proposal, providing no “path to citizenship” for Dreamers and including every nasty provision anti-immigration ultras had been pining for.
So as a follow-on, Paul Ryan & Co. scheduled a vote this week for the “compromise” immigration bill that House Republicans have been slaving over for weeks, which was designed to bridge all the differences within the caucus on immigration policy (Democrats were irrelevant in this process, and were excluded from the beginning). It became clear that the “compromise” bill wasn’t going to pass either, but no one expected the fiasco that occurred when it was finally brought to the floor. Here’s Roll Call’s summary:
House Republicans’ legislative attempt to find consensus within their own party on the divisive issue of immigration failed on the floor Wednesday, with the chamber overwhelmingly rejecting their so-called compromise bill, 121-301.
For the most part, the constant modification of the “compromise” bill was aimed at bringing Goodlatte supporters onboard, which went as far as the labeling of the “compromise” as “Goodlatte 2.” But no dice, as Politico explains:
[N]early two months of intense intra-party negotiations broke down. Their “compromise” bill died Wednesday afternoon, 121 to 301 — the latest in a string of high-profile failures to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and an embarrassment to House GOP leaders and President Donald Trump. While several top conservatives had been in the room helping write the bill, every single one of them voted against it.
Things got a mite testy toward the end:
“This is bullshit,” Rep. Tom MacArthur scolded Meadows at a meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan’s office … The New Jersey Republican, who had worked closely with Meadows in the past and wanted a deal, demanded to know why Meadows appeared to be backing away from a bill he helped craft.
Meanwhile, President Trump, who has been sending mixed messages to Congress on immigration all year long, managed one last tweet that was itself a mixed message:
The all-caps “shouting” didn’t disguise the fact that Trump was telling House Republicans (and the whole world) once again that they were wasting their time.
Perhaps the theory that the president and/or Stephen Miller want chaos and a lack of legislative action on immigration policy isn’t true, but if it is, they’ve done a fine job.