Demonstrators wear pink hats while holding an American flag. (Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg)

How Republicans Could Save the 'Dreamers'

(Bloomberg View) -- Would renegade Republicans use a discharge petition to save the "Dreamers" legislation, as one House Republican in a tough district is promising? 

I don't know whether enough House Republicans favor protection for people who came to the U.S. illegally as minors. If all 194 Democrats supported the effort, it would take 24 Republicans willing to sign their names. But suppose that many or more support the bill, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Even so, it could be that Speaker Paul Ryan will put intense pressure against Republicans who are tempted to sign the petition. If that doesn't work, Ryan could still try to substitute a watered-down measure to keep control of the House agenda for himself and his party while allowing those who want to cast a symbolic vote for DACA to do so. 

Or at least, that's what speakers have typically done. Ryan, however, has a pattern of protecting himself at the expense of his party. So while I am not making any predictions, I could imagine Ryan just allowing a discharge petition to succeed. Ryan could then tell anti-immigration hardliners that he had done everything possible to stop it, and that it wasn't his fault the thing reached the floor and passed despite his opposition. And, having passed the House, the measure would then put pressure on Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senators to move it further. 

Would Ryan really sacrifice the influence of the speaker and the party caucus just to avoid any blame for a DACA bill passing? We can't know yet, but it sure would fit the pattern that he established on health care. 


And here are today's recommended links on politics:

1. Erin C. Cassese and Mirya Holman at the Monkey Cage on the effects of campaign attacks on women running for office. 

2. Dan Drezner has had it with Rex Tillerson.

3. Sarah Posner on Joel Osteen and the Trump era

4. My View colleague Ramesh Ponnuru is exactly correct about why no one takes Trump seriously

5. Brian Beutler makes the case that Republicans will not only fail to do tax reform, but will also fail to even pass tax cuts. Plausible! But hardly certain. Cuts, that is; the chances for anything that would count as real tax reform have always seemed bleak, and more so now. 

6. And Ed Kilgore on "Gone With the Wind."

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.

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