A Majority of Congress Supports Dreamers

In November of 2004, Speaker Dennis Hastert announced that the House would no longer allow bills to be voted on unless they were supported by a majority of Republicans. Thanks to the so-called Hastert Rule, the test of whether or not to allow members of the House to vote on a bill was no longer whether there were enough votes for the bill to pass; instead, the test was whether a majority of Republicans would vote yes. The Hastert Rule means that a minority of Republicans have more power in the House than do any members of both parties wishing to create bipartisan compromise.

In July of 2017, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced The Dream Act of 2017. Among the bill’s cosponsors are Republicans Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, and Cory Gardner. That means four Republicans support Graham’s bill and permanent status for Dreamers. Assuming all 49 Democrats would support the bill, that would leave us with 53 votes in support of the Dreamers obtaining permanent status.

In the House, Republican Carlos Curbelo introduced the Recognizing America’s Children Act on March 9, 2017. This bill would provide a permanent status for Dreamers. As of this writing, the bill has 34 Republican cosponsors. That means that 35 House Republicans are on record supporting permanent status for Dreamers. In the House today there are 238 Republicans and 193 Democrats. In order for a bill to pass the House it needs 218 votes. If every Democrat and the 35 Republicans who have publicly supported the Dreamers voted yes, the Recognize America’s Children Act would receive 228 votes. Obviously, 228 is greater than 218.

The GOP’s insistence that a bill have the support of a majority of Republicans–not a majority of Congress–is the reason Dreamers don’t have permanent status. It’s also obviously undemocratic.

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