Schumer backs immigration reform voting tactic

US ImmigrationSenator Charles Schumer, who was one of the Gang of Eight that created the comprehensive immigration bill that was passed by the Senate back in June last year, yesterday gave his approval to the notion of making use of a procedural maneuver referred to as a discharge petition in order to circumvent the House of Representatives’ Republican majority and bring reform to a vote before the close of 2014.

“The idea that’s begun circulating, to do a discharge petition on immigration reform in the House, is a good one and I would urge House Democrats to take it up,” Schumer declared in an email.  “It’s clear a majority of the House supports immigration reform.  A minority faction has scared Republicans out of acting even though large parts of the Republican base, including business and religious groups, support the bill, making a discharge petition an appropriate remedy.”

The suggestion that the tactic should be used to force the House of Representatives into dealing with the immigration issue was first made by EJ Dionne Jr in the Washington Post, but it is not the first time that Schumer has supported left-field ideas as methods to keep an overhaul afloat.

The last time that a discharge petition, which enables lawmakers to go around a Speaker who is refusing to allow a vote on an issue they do not personally support, was successfully used was 12 years ago back in 2002.  Although lawmakers doubt that such a petition would work in this instance, these suggestions do keep the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner and others in the Republican Party.