Denham is a member of the group of moderate Republicans who spearheaded a discharge petition that sought to force floor votes on immigration measures. Late Tuesday, moderates reached a deal with conservatives to allow two votes on the House floor next week — one on a compromise immigration bill and one on a conservative bill sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
Text of the compromise bill has not yet been written and only a general outline has been floated.
Ryan said Wednesday that members have agreed to the process that would lead to votes on the two bills next week, but that many of them would “reserve judgment” on the compromise bill until the final text emerged.
Moderates said that legislation would provide “certainty for every Dreamer that’s out there,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Calif., another discharge petition sponsor, after the meeting Wednesday.
While Curbelo and Denham said that the compromise bill would reflect President Trump’s four pillars on immigration — border security, addressing DACA, the diversity visa lottery and family-based migration — both declined to offer additional details beyond the general idea that it would address 1.8 million Dreamers.
“Our goal has been to have a permanent fix for Dreamers given the certainty that they need, address the 1.8 million Dreamers that are out there today and then also give them a pathway forward so they’re not only here, protecting them, but allowing them to work and go to school and signing up for military as well,” said Denham.
Both lawmakers said they are not abandoning the discharge petition, which requires 218 signatures in order to trigger floor votes on a wider range of immigration proposals. On Tuesday night, the moderates fell two signatures short of the threshold, which prevents them from holding a vote this month. If the compromise plan fails next week, moderates could still return to the petition and potentially hold votes next month.
“It’s important for people to remain committed to it, because it’s there if we need it. And we may need it,” said Curbelo.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., an ardent Trump supporter who had signed the discharge petition out of frustration about a lack of action on immigration, said that the plan is to include “85 percent” of Republican priorities, including the DACA piece, in the compromise bill in order for the conference to coalesce around it.
In July, the House will address the agriculture piece such as the dairy workers who Collins said are undocumented in his district, an e-Verify program and H-2C year-long visas.
“That will be a separate issue voted on in July,” said Collins, who said that the compromise reached Tuesday is a “mission accomplished” for those who had signed the petition.