President Donald Trump’s last-ditch effort to pass an immigration bill met stiff resistance from the House of Representatives, which toppled the attempt by an overwhelming majority.
Defeated 121-301, the failure highlights divisions within the Republicans own ranks. While every liberal in the House opposed the measure, so too did many conservatives. Roughly half the chamber’s right wing rebuked the ‘compromise’ bill, brokered by Speaker Paul Ryan and begrudgingly supported by the president.
Another piece of legislation, authored by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R), didn’t muster sufficient support either. Goodlatte’s comparably conservative bill cut fewer concessions for immigrants and was more in line with the president’s preferred policy.
But ‘Goodlatte I’ fell flat last week, causing the commander-in-chief to throw his support behind the compromise.
Both measures were intended to stop a Democrat-led discharge petition from triggering votes on a series of more moderate proposals—proposals President Trump has said he won’t sign into law if passed. Goodlatte and Ryan’s bills included limited amnesty for Dreamers, billions of dollars in border wall funding and severe cuts to legal immigration.
President Trump initially said “no deal” to Ryan’s compromise but backtracked, blaming his dismissal on a misunderstanding. He appeared to support the two endeavors Wednesday morning.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018
“House Republicans should pass the strong but fair immigration bill, known as Goodlatte II, in their afternoon vote today, even though the Dems won’t let it pass in the Senate,” tweeted Trump, whose message was written entirely in capital letters. “Passage will show that we want strong borders & security while the Dems want open borders = crime. Win!”
However, the 112 Republicans who condemned the legislation did so for disparate reasons. Some members of the House Freedom Caucus felt the bill gave too many concessions to illegal immigrants. Amnesty for the former beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was one of the compromise’s main inclusions.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, speaking on “Fox & Friends” shortly before the vote, said Republicans probably wouldn’t be able to pass either bill.
“This bill is even stronger than the last bill at building the wall, front loading the money, so President Trump can have the money to build the wall, close loopholes, re-unite families, all of those things,” said Scalise.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the vote did have one positive outcome for Republicans, even if did nothing to solve the country’s ongoing immigration crisis: Ryan’s compromise drove enough conservatives away from the discharge petition to prevent its passage by two signatures.
Despite the House’s inability to pass immigration-related bills, the chamber isn’t likely to abandon the cause anytime soon. As POLITICO notes, Republicans are struggling to find a solution for family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border and are likely to try floating a legislative fix next week.