Ryan Offers Immigration Commitment But Not One Pelosi Wants

Speaker says he does not want to risk a veto, even of a bipartisan bill

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., says he is committed to consider an immigration issue, but that does not appear to be enough for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday offered a commitment to consider immigration legislation, but it’s not the one House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi requested.

“I can’t speak to what our rule is going to look like,” Ryan said. “I can say that we are going to bring a DACA bill to the floor because we want a solution to this problem.”

Pelosi had been pushing Ryan to commit to hold a vote on replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that shelters young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Specifically, she wanted the debate process to be conducted under a rule known as “queen of the hill” that would allow numerous measures to get floor votes and the one with the most “yes” votes above the simple majority threshold to prevail.

Democrats predict under such a scenario a bipartisan proposal from Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., would prevail.

Ryan, however, has said repeatedly he would only bring a bill to the floor that has President Donald Trump’s support, and the Hurd-Aguilar bill does not.

Watch: Ryan: I Don’t Want to Risk a Veto On Immigration Bill That Trump Doesn’t Support

“I want to make sure that we get it done right the first time. I don’t want to just risk a veto,” Ryan said when pushed on why he wouldn’t just allow a vote on a bipartisan bill given Trump’s waffling immigration positions.

“I’m confident we can get there,” the speaker added. “And by the way, getting this budget done allows us to focus on the next priority,” he said, referring to the DACA issue that he pointed out has a deadline.

Conservatives have warned Ryan he would be risking his speakership if he were to give into Democratic demands on immigration, but he insists such talk has nothing to do with his stance.

“It doesn’t,” Ryan said when asked how his personal future factors into his decisions on the immigration issue. “Not at all. I don’t think about it at all.”

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