Will Hurd

House GOP Immigration Talks Raise Questions on Path to Law
Negotiators float cuts that couldn’t pass Senate

Speaker Paul D. Ryan tested the waters with a small cross section of House Republicans ahead of Thursday’s conference-wide immigration discussion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans say the goal of immigration negotiations is to reach agreement on legislation that could become law, but the ideas floated Wednesday run contrary to that claim.

While the negotiators appear to be seriously attempting to compromise on the legal status of so-called Dreamers, they’re also discussing cuts to legal immigration — like reducing family and diversity visas — that if passed through the House would have no chance of advancing in the Senate.

5 Obstacles to a House Republican Immigration Deal
Dreamer question, rules for debate, Democrats, the Senate and Trump all stand in the way

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., says moderate Republicans want the House to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that will have a chance of passing in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans are trying to do in a matter of weeks what they couldn’t accomplish during their nearly eight years in the majority — pass a sweeping immigration bill.

The GOP is facing a self-imposed deadline to move legislation the third week of June that, among other things, would protect so-called Dreamers from deportation. The legal status of those young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is in limbo, along with the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Democrats Get Preferred Candidates in House Races in Texas
GOP sees mixed fortunes for establishment candidates in runoffs

Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

General election matchups in Texas were set following Tuesday’s runoffs, including a few expected to be competitive in the fall. 

Democrats saw new opportunities in the Lone Star state after Hillary Clinton carried three Republican-held seats in 2016. Each of those races on the Democratic side went to a runoff after no one took more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary. A slew of Republican retirements sparked crowded GOP primaries, which led to runoffs in five open seats. The winners of most of these contests are likely to come to Congress from the Republican-leaning districts.

5 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries
Outside of Texas runoffs, this week’s action is mostly on the Democratic side

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is running in Kentucky’s 6 District Democratic primary Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voters again head to the polls Tuesday, this time in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky. 

Texas held its primaries in March, but more than a few of those contests advanced to runoffs since the winners did not surpass 50 percent of the vote. None has received more attention that the Democratic runoff in the 7th District. 

GOP Leaders Float Alternative to Immigration Discharge Petition
Denham says discharge petition supporters working with leadership but have the signatures

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.,and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., are working on an immigration plan with President Donald Trump they hope will stop a discharge petition moderate Republicans are pushing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:35 p.m. | House Republican leaders and the conservative rank and file are desperately trying to kill a discharge petition that would trigger a series of immigration votes, likely resulting in House passage of a bill carried mostly by Democrats.

Moderate Republicans say they have enough support to force a vote on a “queen of the hill” rule that would set up votes on four different immigration bills, with the one receiving the most support above the required simple majority threshold advancing. But not all the members whose support they’re counting on have signed on to the discharge petition yet, partly because GOP leaders insist they’ll have an alternative solution.

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny
Voter rights advocates worry the court could hand states a shield

Texas’ 35th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, is at the center of a gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering.

This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data.

More Republicans Ready to Push but Not Force Immigration Votes
Denham won’t commit to discharge petition on queen of the hill rule for DACA bills

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., center, flanked by Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., left, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, hold a news conference on the use of the “queen of the hill” rule for DACA legislation in the House on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Four dozen mostly moderate Republicans have joined Democrats in their push for a “queen of the hill” rule that would set up a series of immigration votes. But the GOP congressman leading the charge is reluctant to commit to a discharge petition that could actually force his leadership to bring it to the floor.

“You shouldn’t need a discharge petition,” California Rep. Jeff Denham said. He acknowledged that backers of the rule might discuss such a petition — which if signed by a majority of the House would force leadership to call a vote. But he refused to commit to filing one if his plan to put pressure on Speaker Paul D. Ryan fails.

Congressional Leadership Fund Reserves $48 Million in TV, Digital Ads
Super PAC is aligned with House GOP leadership

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman is among the beneficiaries of the Congressional Leadership Fund’s fall ad reservations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with House Republican leadership, is making $38 million worth of television reservations for ads in the fall, and an additional $10 million investment for digital ads.

CLF is the first outside GOP group to make early advertising reservations ahead of the November elections, and it is investing four months earlier than it did in the 2016 cycle. Locking in airtime early allows the group to make the reservations at lower rates.

DCCC Adds Two Black Candidates to Red to Blue
Women now make up the majority of 33 candidates in program

Texas Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones made the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is releasing its fourth round of Red to Blue candidates Thursday. 

The nine latest additions include two African-Americans. The DCCC had been criticized for not including any black candidates on the list so far this cycle.

16 Thoughts Without Even Knowing Who Won in Pennsylvania
Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales gives decisive takeaways from an undecided contest

Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone, left, and Democrat Conor Lamb was too close to call. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The special election race for Pennsylvania’s 18th District is too close to call, but many of the takeaways are the same, no matter whether Democrat Conor Lamb or Republican Rick Saccone ultimately prevails.

There will be plenty of hot takes on the impact of President Donald Trump on the race. But I think there’s one undeniable truth: If President Hillary Clinton were sitting in the White House, Republicans wouldn’t have been sweating this race. If blaming their nominee helps Republicans sleep at night, then so be it.