A House GOP immigration bill which faced an uphill battle may have just lost its chances following a critical tweet by President Trump.
Republican lawmakers working for weeks on the compromise effort had decided to postpone a vote until Friday in hopes of drumming up more support for the legislation. But Trump threw some cold water on the struggling measure when he tweeted that they should “stop wasting their time.”
The president suggested Republicans should wait “after the Red Wave” in November to take on the divisive issue.
Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2018
The tweet created confusion for lawmakers as it came days after Trump promised House Republicans he’d support them “1,000 percent” on immigration, according to The Hill.
“Our GOP conference is still in the throes of negotiations,” retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said. “This is schizoid policy-making by tweets, that what you say on Monday may not last on Friday. You just fear that tweet in the morning.”
Another retiring GOP lawmaker, Pennsylvania’s Rep. Ryan Costello reacted on Twitter.
Torpedoed by tweet. “tweet-pedoed https://t.co/BC6wlKgaF7
— Ryan Costello (@RyanCostello) June 22, 2018
“Given how contentious this issue is, I don’t know how Congress can move ahead without presidential backing,” South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford said.
“Game over. It takes the wind out of the sails,” GOP Rep. Mark Sanford says of the effect of President Trump’s tweet about delaying until after the midterms on the immigration debate https://t.co/pWHVKlEOxT https://t.co/9dc3BN9fXm
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 22, 2018
“At least with that tweet, he signaled that he was not willing to do so. If so, I think immigration is dead,” member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said.
But other Republican leaders plan to spend the weekend negotiating and push for a vote next week.
“He didn’t say to pull [the bill],” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Friday, according to The Hill. “He just is acknowledging that there is no willingness of Democrats to work with us to solve this problem.”
According to The Hill:
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his team are giving themselves one more week to thread the needle on a compromise plan designed to unite the moderate and conservative wings of their restive conference — a feat that has eluded the party for years. The effort comes as leaders have been racing to defuse a revolt from moderates who were threatening to force action to protect so-called Dreamers who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
The compromise measure would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, earmark $25 billion for Trump’s border wall and other security measures, end the diversity visa lottery program and limit family-based migration.
It also would end the separation of migrant families at the U.S. border, a crisis that exploded in recent weeks and has ramped up pressure on Republicans to pass immigration legislation.
Tougher immigration legislation sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte was rejected Thursday in a 193-231 vote. A vote on a compromise bill initially scheduled for Thursday was pushed until the next day when it became apparent there would not be enough votes to support it.
New York Rep. Chris Collins doesn’t expect the bill to move forward, adding that the president is “getting out in front of it maybe a little sooner than I would, in recognizing the Democrats are a bunch of hypocrites.”
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but being a realist, I’m fully prepared to see it not pass,” Collins said. “And I think that’s where the president is as well.”
Some GOP conservatives opposed to the compromise measure, however, were more than happy with Trump’s tweet Friday morning.
“I think the president did the right thing,” Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox Business Network. “I appreciate his tweet this morning more than you can imagine.”
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