House Conservatives Threaten Revolt if Bills Rushed

Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 03:36 PM

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent

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Conservatives in the House of Representatives are warning against taking fast action on gun-control and immigration-reform bills just as the Senate racks up bipartisan agreements to move both issues forward.

“There would be a revolt among Republicans if [House Speaker John Boehner] doesn’t follow regular order on immigration,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, said at a press conference on Thursday.

The discontent among House conservatives came as Senate negotiators have made substantial progress on comprehensive gun-control and immigration-reform legislation, with the Senate overcoming a filibuster over the gun measure on Thursday.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania announced plans Wednesday on a compromise to expand backgrounds checks for gun shows and online sales, an agreement that will help the bill’s prospects in the Senate.

“It is very disappointing that something of this magnitude could be rushed through without the proper amount of scrutiny,” Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told Newsmax. “It is not a way to govern, to create tremendous fear, and get people to vote on bills that we have not even read.”

Gohmert has become so concerned with rushing bills to the House floor that he has drafted a bill that would require that legislation go through regular procedures and not be brought for a vote without a majority of the majority — the so-called “Hastert Rule.”

Gohmert said that he hopes his bill forces the issue even if Boehner doesn’t bring it up for a vote.

The Senate on Thursday overcame an attempt to filibuster gun legislation, clearing the 60-vote hurdle with a 68-31 vote to proceed on proposals to expand background checks for gun buyers, tighten restrictions on gun trafficking, and increase funding for school security.

The legislation likely will move more slowly in the House.

Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that he will send a letter to Boehner, “making it clear no anti-gun legislation whatsoever should be brought to the floor.”

“Obama and the Astroturf anti-gun agenda are leading his party into political oblivion, and Boehner is missing an opportunity to solidify and rally a voting and activist base of millions,” Stockman wrote in an op-ed in The Hill.

On immigration, a bipartisan group of eight senators — whose support is crucial to passing immigration reform — is inching closer to introducing a bill now that most issues have been resolved.

Their bill would reportedly secure U.S. borders, put an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, and implement a new visa system for low- and high-skilled workers.

In the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is reportedly considering moving several individual immigration bills in the coming days, as opposed to a comprehensive package of reforms.

Boehner has indicated that he will wait until the Senate acts before deciding on how the House will act on both bills.

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