Amnesty Debate Derailed... by McCain?
2:20 PM, Apr 3, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
I've written before on Congressman Heath Shuler's claim that John McCain has quietly intervened to discourage House Republicans from forcing a debate on immigration. I've argued that the claim is implausible, since 175 out of 198 Republicans have signed a discharge petition designed to force a debate, compared to just 10 Democrats. If McCain is discouraging Republicans from signing the petition, he's obviously not being very effective. McCain's staff also denies the claim. Further, the debate would/will be very painful for Democrats. So Democratic leaders who want to avoid the bill have reason to try and throw up some dust.
With this prologue, Roll Call today reports that several House Democrats claim at least one Republican refused to sign on because of McCain's opposition:
But read the rest of the piece, and you see that the Democrats weren't talking about the Shuler border enforcement bill per se; they plan to use support for the Shuler bill to force a new debate over comprehensive immigration reform:
So McCain's team says that he didn't intervene, while Democrats continue to claim that he did. In either case, it seems that the Democratic leadership is dead-set against a simple up or down vote on Shuler's enforcement bill. Instead, if the discharge petition gets to 218 signatures, we'll be treated to a comprehensive reform debate.