Democrats Use New Tactic to Force Issues

February 16, 2014

The Democrats understand the urgency of passing immigration reform and raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Polls across the states indicate that the majority of the people are supporting the passage of both.

Polls indicate that over 88% of voters support a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, 70% support an 'earned' pathway to citizenship for undocumented aliens, and 46% said that they were less likely to vote for a candidate who opposed immigration reform and would 'punish' those who blocked it.

The majority of Americans also want to see the minimum wage increased as polls indicate. Seven in ten voters want to see minimum wage increased.

Yet, House Speaker Boehner refuses to bring either bill to a vote unless the majority of the Republican House members support it. With Tea Party fanatics and right wing extremists stubbornly refusing to support anything that is supported by Democrats, it is unlikely that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will bring either issue up for a vote in the House.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants both issues to be brought to the floor after the February break. The Democrats intend to force the vote using the method of a discharge petition.

From ABC News:
First, 217 members — one more than half the House's current membership of 432 — have to sign a petition. A motion to consider the wage issue would then be placed on the legislative calendar, but it can't be acted on for at least seven days. Any lawmaker can then call it up but only on the second or fourth Monday of the month. The motion is debated and if the House passes it, then lawmakers would consider and vote on the bill. 
Currently there are 232 Republicans, 200 Democrats and three vacancies in the House. All 200 Democrats would have to sign the petition, but Democrats would have a tough time getting 17 Republicans to join them.
This week Senator John McCain (R-AZ) again expressed his desire to see immigration reform pass this year. To do otherwise would hurt Republicans in the 2016 Presidential election.

It appears that Boehner and most House Republicans ignore the polls that show that the vast majority of voters support immigration reform and raising the minimum wage. They seem to value the power high they get from blocking issues, pushing divisive tactics, and game playing more than they value advancing what constituents want.

It is unlikely that 17 Republicans will go against Boehner and sign the petition. Still, regardless of the outcome, through the petition attempt the Democrats will reaffirm themselves as the party standing with the majority of the voters on these two important issues.