House GOP leaders say they'll try crafting immigration deal


Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee and has been involved in smaller negotiations leading up to Thursday's meeting, said Thursday's session wasn't meant to finalize a deal but to "get everything on the table".

"We've got the rule of law in this country, and nobody gets special consideration", said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

"It's clear that there are a lot of areas of consensus", said Ryan, R-Wis., at his weekly news conference. "In our data, we have right track at 40 percent", the strategist notes, meaning that 40 percent of those surveyed say the country is going in the right direction.

The moderate Republicans leading the charge for a last-ditch agreement for young undocumented immigrants said GOP leaders have until Tuesday to find a deal that can placate the conference, or they'll join forces with Democrats to force a floor vote on a bill along the lines of the DREAM Act. The Democratic Party has a very slightly higher rating - 35 percent positive.

If you vote in one party's primary, you may vote in the runoff for that party's primary, but not in the other party's runoff. It would draw widespread Democratic support and leaders say passage would damage the party's electoral prospects by souring GOP voters. He said leaders would unveil "an outline of a potential bill", while conservative leader Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said Ryan would present "concepts".

"What I envision the leadership doing is taking all of the feedback and crafting something", Meadows told reporters after the meeting.

Leaders want to "work with our members to get things done and avoid a discharge petition", Ryan said of the seldom-used process that centrists are applying to try to force the votes.

"For those of us who have led the discharge petition effort specifically, we will continue having these (GOP) conversations", Curbelo said. As of Thursday morning, supporters were just three votes shy of the 218 they need.

The dynamic followed a trend from recent primaries in other states, indicating that while Trump is enjoying unwavering sway in the Republican party and among conservative voters, his controversial policies are sparking a strong backlash from Democratic voters and independents. "Obviously, time is of the essence", he said. The group is a couple of signatures shy of forcing a vote on its preferred bill over leadership's objections. Opposed to the forced vote, known as a discharge petition, Ryan did at least promise to "put pen to paper" on a compromise bill for DACA.

COFFMAN: No, and I think that's a sticking point.

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Clark County Republicans had Democrats beat in 2016 in terms of percentage of its voters who turned out for the general election.

A moderate solution could only pass if a majority of Democrats signed on to the bill.

Curbelo and Walker also told CNN separately Wednesday that a deal may include some cuts on the legal immigration side, but that they would occur to set aside visas that could offset those going to DACA recipients.

To a large extent, that's also true for Republicans, outside the (extremely important!) anomaly in the White House. "But if it isn't bipartisan then you have another Obamacare debacle". They hope they can head off unhappy moderates trying to force votes on bills providing a chance for citizenship for thousands of young immigrants brought to the USA illegally. They are backing a petition drive that would trigger a floor debate on a series of immigration proposals.

Adding to the internal drama is the pressure on party leaders to negotiate a way out of this dispute that doesn't prompt a further rebellion in the ranks.

Standing against them are those who call any such plans "amnesty" and show little sign of caring that Democrats plan to weaponize this issue in this fall's elections.

However, Ryan signaled that an effort is still underway to bridge the divide between the warring factions, but it remains to be seen if a compromise is possible.

"There's no agreement right now", said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the GOP Whip, as he exited the meeting.

And asked if Hillary Clinton's endorsement sway their vote, just a quarter said they would be enthusiastic (9 percent) or comfortable (14 percent) with a candidate backed by the former presidential contender, while almost half said they would have reservations (12 percent) or be uncomfortable (37 percent) based on her support.