Desperate House Republican leaders are trying to talk their moderate faction out of pushing for an immigration debate by threatening midterm losses and a fractured party, according to a Wednesday Washington Post report.
The campaign reportedly ramped up Wednesday morning in a closed-door meeting when Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) cited the bevy of dire political consequences bringing up such a hot-button issue before the midterms could have.
It continued that evening, when he was joined by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to cajole leaders of the movement away from their plan with promises that talks are happening at the highest levels to bring immigration bills to the floor.
House Republicans were not swayed. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who initially filed the discharge petition to kickstart the bill votes, reportedly said that the leaders lacked solid plans and that the petition effort would continue.
Per the Washington Post, two more Republicans—Reps. John Katko (NY) and David Trott (MI)—signed the petition Wednesday, affixing the 19th and 20th Republican signatures. With all Democrats presumably on board, the petition requires five more Republican names to pass.
On the other wing of the Republican Party, the House Freedom Caucus is reportedly threatening to hold up passage of a farm bill this week until a conservative immigration bill is let onto the floor. Per the Washington Post, some believe that bringing the bill to the floor would effectively kill the discharge petition.
Ryan and McCarthy reportedly met with President Donald Trump Tuesday to brainstorm solutions to the immigration schism within the party.