Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass., speaks to a reporter on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Washington.

Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

Rep. Keating: Division Within GOP Is Holding DACA Bill Back

January 10, 2018

During a bipartisan meeting with President Trump Tuesday, lawmakers discussed tough immigration issues ahead of a Jan. 19 deadline and left feeling cautiously optimistic.

"Truly, [a DACA fix] should be a bill of love," Trump said.

Yet Trump’s inconsistent history has Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass) feeling unsure about the future success of immigration reform.

“Many times [with] these things, [Trump] reverses himself within the hour, but I really hope that it’s true,” Keating said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Wednesday. “Certainly, we don’t root for failure in this, and you’ve got important issues in front of you. We’re hungry for success, actually.”

According to Keating, the passage of a proposed DACA bill comes down to divisiveness not within the House, but within the Republican caucus.

“If you took the DACA bill and put it on the House floor right now, it would be an overwhelming majority in favor of resolving the issue,” Keating said. “So really what you have is ... these factions that are fighting within the Republican party, the House in particular — that’s the real problem.”

So why can’t the bill just go to a vote on the floor? That’s because of a mid-1990’s rule known as the Hastert Rule, or “majority of the majority” — wherein the speaker can’t allow a floor vote on a bill unless a majority of the majority party — in this case, the GOP — supports the bill.

“Really, it’s this ridiculous to anyone with common sense,” Keating said. “This idea that you have to have the majority of your own party, not the majority of the House as a whole to support something to move it forward.”

The House is set to release their immigration reform bill Wednesday afternooon.

Rep. Bill Keating serves as ranking member on the Terrorism and Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He’s also an active member of the Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats Subcommittee. To hear his full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.


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