POLITICS
02/24/2014 06:43 pm ET | Updated Feb 24, 2014

Progressive Groups Target Nancy Pelosi On Immigration

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WASHINGTON -- Three progressive groups are going after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an effort to jump-start immigration reform as it stalls in the lower chamber.

CREDO Action, MoveOn.org and the Daily Kos will team up Tuesday on a petition directed at Pelosi, a staunch supporter of reform, calling on her to attempt a rarely-used political maneuver to force a vote on an immigration bill Democrats introduced last October. The move, called a discharge petition, would require a majority of House members to sign on in support of bringing a bill to the floor -- a difficult task but one progressives have argued could be necessary for getting reform done.

"Every week that we fail to pass immigration reform more families are broken up," Becky Bond, CREDO's political director, said in a statement. "Nancy Pelosi has shown leadership time and time again when it comes to the most pressing challenges -- she can do so once more by filing a discharge petition and fix[ing] our broken and abusive immigration system."

Democrats have indicated that a discharge petition is still on the table. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said last week that Democrats are considering the move, but noted it will be tough given the need to get 218 signatures -- requiring all or nearly all of the Democratic members and 15 to 19 Republicans.

If used, a discharge petition would push a vote on HR 15, the bill introduced by Democrats in the fall that is based largely on the Senate-passed comprehensive reform bill approved last June. That bill has 198 sponsors and co-sponsors -- some of them non-voting members -- including three GOP members and all but 12 Democrats. It's a combination of the Senate's so-called "gang of eight" bill and a border security bill already approved by the House Homeland Security Committee.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the authors of the Senate-passed bill, came out in support of the idea of a discharge petition on immigration earlier this month.

Although House Republican leaders put forward principles for immigration reform in late January, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) downplayed chances of passage this year just a week later.

"There's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws, and it's going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes," Boehner said at a press conference Feb. 6.

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