House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said on Tuesday that it is possible to use the farm bill as leverage in order to hurt the Republican attempt to force a vote on immigration.
According to The Hill, Meadows stated that the conservative group might push for a vote on an immigration bill introduced in January by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte in exchange for support on the farm bill, which has failed to gain traction in the House.
Meanwhile, the farm bill is a top priority for retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.
House GOP leadership in the past promised Meadows a vote on the Goodlatte immigration bill, in exchange for the caucus’ support on a must-pass government funding bill.
“You know we had discussions tonight about really encouraging our leadership to just stay true to the promise that they made during the CR votes,” he told reporters Tuesday, referring to the continuing resolution. “If you recall there was a CR where they said they would give us a vote on Goodlatte. And so since we’re whipping the farm bill very hard for a vote this week, we believe that it’s probably time to call the question on the Goodlatte bill as well.”
Eighteen House Republicans recently signed on to a discharge petition introduced by Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo, who said last week that he plans to force votes on four immigration proposals. And the one that receives the most votes over 218 is going to be sent to the upper chamber. In Congress, this is called a “Queen of the Hill” rule.
But Meadows is not on board with the discharge petition, saying that if they bring the Goodlatte bill to the floor, it would hinder the timing of the Queen of the Hill rule.
“When you have a rule it ripens, it’s attached to a certain bill, so if you bring that bill up you can only consider it once,” Meadows said. “So in doing that, the rule that’s attached now, the Queen of the Hill rule, would have to find another vehicle to be attached to in order to be effective. And so the clock would start all over again.”
Meadows said that the group would probably have the numbers to derail the farm bill if necessary. “The only leverage would be if it moved a significant number of ‘yes’ votes, and that’s what we are checking with our members to do,” he added.