House Democrats

How Democrats Could Use Rare Tactic To Force House Votes

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are vowing to use a long-shot tactic to force votes on immigration reform and minimum wage increases.

By John O'Connor | February 17, 2014

In a "House of Cards"-esque move, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are vowing to use a rare, long-shot tactic to force a vote on immigration reform and federal minimum wage increases. 

Democrats want to circumvent the House's GOP-led leadership using an old procedural tactic known as a discharge petition. The maneuver would allow Democrats to bypass the House Committee approval process and bring a measure directly to the floor for a vote. (Via CNN)

The rarely-used move was brought up last week by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who wrote: "[Immigration reform] Supporters should be thinking about a discharge petition ... If a majority of House members signed it, there could be a successful vote for the immigration bill the Senate already passed."

But it didn't really catch traction until New York Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the architects of that Senate-passed bill, sent a statement to Politico Friday voicing his support for the petition. (Via Al Jazeera)

“It’s clear a majority of the House supports immigration reform. A minority faction has scared Republicans out of acting even though large parts of the Republican base ... support the bill, making a discharge petition an appropriate remedy.”

And now the House's top-ranking Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, says she and fellow chamber Democrats will push the issue when Congress returns from its current recess. (Via C-SPAN)

However, Fox News explains the discharge petition is rarely used for a reason — because it rarely works. 

The only two known instances of it ever working was "in 1986, forcing a vote on a gun rights bill, and in 2002, ensuring a vote on campaign finance legislation."

While The New York Times reports in this particular instance, "Even if all House Democrats supported the measure, it would still require more than a dozen Republican signatures ... Lawmakers and aides in both parties say that ... is unlikely."

But another columnist for The Washington Post says forcing a vote likely isn't the end-game for Democrats. Rather, the idea is to apply pressure to Republicans ahead of midterm elections to keep the legislative process moving on issues like immigration and federal wages. 

" ... those feeling more heat from [constituents] pressuring them to sign [the petitions] might now have more incentive to go to the GOP leadership and say they’re getting killed and want the GOP to move forward somehow, even with its piecemeal proposals."

Democrats plan to push the discharge petition plan into motion when Congress returns from its holiday recess Feb. 24th. 

  TRENDING IN Politics NEWS
Donald Trump raises his index finger in an attempt to quiet the crowd at the New Hampshire GOP debate.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Donald Trump Took On (Almost) Everyone At The Debate

Christie and Rubio went back and forth over Rubio's experience.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Chris Christie's 'Inexperience' Attack On Marco Rubio Got Intense

Policeman are placed in front of Cologne Central Station during Weiberfastnacht celebrations as part of the carnival season on February 4, 2016 in Cologne, Germany.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Volker Hartmann

Women Report Sexual Assaults At German Carnival, Including A TV Anchor

Clinton and Sanders at the Democratic debate in New HampshireWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Why Foreign Policy Isn't A Bigger Issue In The Democratic Race

President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Shawn Thew

President Obama's New Long Shot: A $10 Tax On Oil

Hillary Clinton hits Bernie Sanders on his gun control votes.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Clinton Hits Sanders On Gun Control (Again) In 'Progressive' Defense

Hillary Clinton and Bernie SandersWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Clinton To Sanders: End Your 'Artful Smear'

Bernie SandersWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

How Goldman Sachs Is (Inadvertently) Swaying The Democratic Primary

Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC., smiles while flanked by Nancy Retzlaff, chief commercial officer for Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC., during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Shkreli invoked his 5th Amendment right not to testify to the committee that is examining the prescription drug market. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mark Wilson

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Didn't Say Much At Congressional Hearing

Deray Mckesson attends the LinkedIn Next Wave Event at The Empire State Building in September 2015.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Kohen

What Are Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay's Chances Of Being Mayor?

Sign in Okay, Oklahoma.WATCHLIST
KJRH

This Oklahoma School District Allows Employees To Carry Guns

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks in Des Moines, Iowa.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joshua Lott

Socialism Also Won The Iowa Caucuses

#TooLateObama spread on social media, criticizing the president's recent visit to a mosque in Baltimore.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Olivier Douliery

Some Say President Obama's Mosque Visit Comes 'Too Late'

Daryush Valizadeh, who goes by Roosh V online, is organizing International Tribal Meetings on Feb. 6 at 165 locations worldwide.WATCHLIST
Bartek Kucharczyk

Petitions Worldwide Call For Barring Of Anti-Feminist American Blogger

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center at Iowa State University on January 19, 2016 in Ames, IA.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Aaron P. Bernstein

Sarah Palin's Facebook Post Targets Ted Cruz Campaign

Santorum polled consistently low throughout his run.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Olson

Rick Santorum Drops Out Of Presidential Race, Endorses Rubio

Sen. Paul has announced he is leaving the presidential race.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Rand Paul Drops Out Of Presidential Race

A customer surveys his options at a marijuana dispensary.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Theo Stroomer

Pot Dispensaries Have Too Much Money And Nowhere To Put It

It's a reminder that losing favorability doesn't necessarily mean losing support.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Olson

Trump Has Great Poll Numbers But Lowest Favorability In Entire Race

Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks in Exeter, New Hampshire.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Darren McCollester

The Mystery Of Ted Cruz's 2 Timepieces

Female recruits attend Marine boot camp in South Carolina.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Olson

Top Military Brass Say Women Should Have To Register For The Draft

Ted Cruz and Ben Carson shake hands.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Olson

Ted Cruz Apologizes To Ben Carson For Saying Carson Suspended Campaign

The early morning sun strikes the U.S. Capitol November 6, 2006 in Washington, DC. Midterm elections take place November 7, potentially changing the balance of power in the nation's capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Win McNamee

DC Passes Bill That Would Pay 'At-Risk' Residents Not To Commit Crimes

'DC Madam' Deborah Jeane Palfrey (R) and her laywer Montgomery Blair Sibley leave the Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after attending several motion hearings in her trial Sept. 7, 2007 in Washington, DC.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Lawyer Of 'DC Madam' Wants To Release His Client's Black Book

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump eats a pork chop on a stick and gives a thumbs up sign to fairgoers while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Win McNamee

Here's What The Presidential Candidates Love (And Hate) To Eat

Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as Former U.S. president Bill Clinton looks on during her caucus night event in the Olmsted Center at Drake University on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Win McNamee

Hillary Clinton Officially Wins 'Historically Close' Iowa Caucus

Guns recovered in IllinoisWATCHLIST
 

How States With Weak Gun Laws Push Firearms To Neighbors

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. U.S. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) and Hillary Clinton take part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Race In Iowa Was 'Historically Close'

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina greets attendees at a Republican caucus site February 1, 2016 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Democratic and Republican presidential candidates await the caucus returns from the first step in nominating a presidential candidate from each party.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Steve Pope

Carly Fiorina Skipped Her Own Caucus Party, Then Skipped Out Of Iowa

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reacts to U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement about revising policies on U.S.-Cuba relationsWATCHLIST
Getty Images / T.J. Kirkpatrick

How Team Rubio Turned A Loss Into A Win