mostlycloudy
Saturday May 30th, 2015 6:40AM

House Dems try to force vote on immigration

By Ken Stanford Reporter
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Democrats deployed a little-used legislative move Wednesday to force a vote on a comprehensive immigration bill, an effort doomed to fail but designed to increase the election-year pressure on Republicans to act.

"It is time for us to have a vote," said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who joined with more than a dozen Democrats, advocates and actress America Ferrera to mark 273 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan bill. They insisted that House Republican leaders act.

Standing on the east steps of the Capitol in a light snow and biting wind, proponents argued that they had the necessary votes in the House for a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally and tighten border security.

"We're tired of the House of Representatives leaders and their refusal to act," Ferrera said.

Democrats introduced a discharge petition that requires the signature of 218 for legislative action, an effort that stands little chance of success as Republicans, even those supportive of immigration legislation, are unwilling to defy their leadership. Democrats hold 199 seats in the House and would need dozens of GOP supporters.

The GOP is reluctant to vote on the divisive issue in an election year, especially with all signs pointing to major gains for Republicans in the November midterms.

After months of conciliatory talk, President Barack Obama issued a statement praising the Democratic effort and chastising the Republicans.

"Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security and our future," Obama said. "A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country."

The Senate passed a comprehensive bill last June, but the measure has stalled in the GOP-controlled House where Republicans have argued for a piecemeal approach to reforming the system. That effort has gone nowhere as bills approved by the Judiciary Committee last summer have languished.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders unveiled a set of immigration principles in January, but rank-and-file members balked at moving ahead on any legislation. Boehner attributed the GOP roadblock to a collective distrust of Obama to enforce any new laws.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, dismissed the Democratic procedural move, pointing to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's admission earlier this month that they wouldn't get the necessary 218 votes.

The reluctance among Republicans comes despite business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, unions, religious leaders and other activists banding together to push for immigration legislation. National Republicans also have argued that failure to act this year could cost the GOP politically in presidential elections.

Opposition remains strong among some in the GOP who see the legislation as amnesty and detrimental to U.S. workers.

"Incredibly, House Democrats have unified behind an immigration bill that would double the inflow of new guest workers competing against jobless Americans in every single U.S. occupation - from engineering to teaching to manufacturing," said Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Budget Committee.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 4 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 4 months ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 4 months ago )
Politics
GSP: DUI drugs cited in wreck with church bus
A wreck that injured more than a dozen people aboard a church bus near Toccoa Thursday night is being blamed on a driver who allegedly was under the influence of drugs.
11:38PM ( 7 hours ago )
One killed, another injured in Cumming car accident
One person was killed and another seriously injured early Friday evening in a two-vehicle collision in Forsyth County.
9:49PM ( 8 hours ago )
Five injured after pedestrian enters Sardis Rd
Charges are pending against a pedestrian who reportedly caused a car accident on Sardis Road in Hall County.
5:52PM ( 12 hours ago )
Father: Woman shot by sheriff told Gwinnett police it was an accident
The woman who was shot and critically wounded by a Georgia sheriff told a detective the shooting was an accident that happened while they were practicing self-defense tactics in an empty model home in Gwinnett County, her father said Friday.
3:52PM ( 14 hours ago )
Falcon LB wanted for Aggravated Animal Cruelty
Atlanta Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is wanted by Gwinnett County Police.
3:51PM ( 14 hours ago )