Despite a veto threat from President Trump, House Democrats on Tuesday passed a bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 2 million undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States as children.
The 237-187 vote elicited chants of “Si Se Puede” or “Yes We Can” in the chamber. The measure is not likely to succeed in the GOP-led Senate, where other pieces of legislation on issues like gun control, healthcare and climate change, advanced by Democrats have languished in recent years.
Just seven Republicans voted to support the bill, while all 187 “no” votes came from Republicans.
The measure, dubbed the Dream and Promise Act, would protect the so-called “Dreamers” — like those protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — from deportation and provide them a pathway for citizenship should they meet certain criteria.
The proposal would also offer legal status to an estimated 400,000 people given Temporary Protected Status — mainly from Central America, Africa and the Middle East — which have been engulfed in wars, civil conflict and natural disasters.
“This is about who we are as Americans, and what is in the best interests of our country,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., the measure’s chief sponsor.
To qualify for legal residence, the Dreamers and other immigrants brought to the U.S. could qualify if they attain college degrees, serve in the military or have worked at least three years. They can apply for citizenship after another five years.
The measure lacks border security provisions, a sticking point for most Republicans.
“This bill, to my mind, would ruin America,” said Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.
The proposal would “would incentivize and reward illegal immigration” without “protecting our communities and defending our borders,” according to a letter the White House sent to lawmakers.
Republicans pushed to add a provision to prevent suspected gang members from applying for legal status. Democrats argued the bill already contained controls to do just that.
“I would ask my colleagues to spare me this false outrage,” said Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., according to Politico. “At the end of the day, there is no question that no one is interested in allowing gang members to benefit.“
The White House has tried dismantling the Obama-era DACA program but has been rebuffed by federal courts. The debate over the bill coincided with a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has strained the government’s ability to detain and process new arrivals.
President Trump has said he will impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods beginning next week if that country’s government doesn’t do more to prevent the flow of migrants and drugs into the U.S. The president has said the tariffs will generate enough revenue to cover the $4.5 billion to address the influx that he has unsuccessfully requested from Congress.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON D.C. (WLUK) — Sixth District Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman weighed in on the current mood between Republicans and Democrats in Washington.
Grothman shared his thoughts on whether he thinks the two sides can ever compromise. “The Republicans and Democrats do get along very well, but there are a couple of issues. Immigration, health care, that there isn’t any movement. And trade is another one.”
Grothman also says, “And part of that sadly, is I think some Democrats don’t want to give President Trump some success. Because they feel, if he says, look at what I signed, there’s a success, it increases his chances for re-election, and for that reason, they’re not going to give him that success.”
Dallas Kerzan believes every person with a disability should have the freedom to choose how they pursue employment.
That’s why Kerzan, her daughter Yael and several other members of the Portage A-Team chapter visited Madison on Tuesday to meet with state lawmakers on National Day for Choice. The event aims to raise awareness about adult workers who have a disability.
“When our kids speak, these legislators listen,” Kerzan said. “It was empowering for them. They just want to have their choices honored.”
Kerzan said the federal government wants to increase the minimum wage, but she’s concerned such a decision would box people with disabilities out of certain job opportunities and hurt companies such as Northwoods Inc., which offers rehabilitation services and job coaches on site.
Northwoods Inc. CEO Jolene Wheeler said the A-Team members’ voices are being heard because of their strong advocacy efforts.
“People with diverse abilities deserve to choose where they work and how to spend their day,” Wheeler said.
Kerzan is an advocate for disabled workers and lives in Pardeeville with her family. She said her daughter Yael, who has a disability, has found various employment opportunities at both Walmart and Northwoods.
But every person who has a physical or intellectual disability handles rigorous workloads and schedules differently, Kerzan said.
Workers at some job sites are paid for how much work they do, instead of being required to do more than they can handle, she said.
“We support choices of all people,” Kerzan said, adding people should be able to choose from more than just one option.
Kerzan said she felt encouraged after several recent meetings with state and federal legislators, including U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah.
“We’re counting on him to get the ear of his colleagues in Washington,” Kerzan said.
Grothman in 2018 introduced a bill aimed at retaining the current system for allowing special wages and job coach services for people with disabilities. He also toured Northwoods on March 19 and met several people who receive job assistance.
He told the Daily Register he wants the U.S. government to leave the system the way it is and continue to allow adults with disabilities to pursue work on their own terms and feel satisfied in doing so.
“Northwoods does a great job, and there are some extremists who want to put an end to that freedom for these workers to choose, and it would just be a disaster,” Grothman said.
Grothman said some people can work full time and others only part time, but either way he believes their positive attitudes benefit other people in the workplace.
The issue has also been on the mind of state Rep. Dave Considine, D-Baraboo.
Considine said although he was caught up in a budget hearing session Tuesday, he has met with A-Team advocates on several occasions and appreciates what they do to provide a voice for others.
He believes every person should be able to experience the camaraderie and fulfillment of holding a job of their choice.
“I hope they find a way to carve out a place for Northwoods in that legislation,” Considine said.
Ten Members of the House of Representatives and two Senators have added their cosponsorship to a resolution opposing “any new performance fee, tax,royalty, or other charge” on local broadcast radio stations. The Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA), which signals Members of Congress’s opposition to any potential legislation that imposes new performance royalties on broadcast radio stations for music airplay, now has 161 cosponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate.
Adding their support recently for the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House are Reps. Ralph Abraham (R-LA-5), Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Drew Ferguson (R-GA-3), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), Kay Granger (R-TX-12), Bill Huizenga (R-MI-2), Susie Lee (D-NV-3), Kenny Marchant(R-TX-24), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15) and Filemon Vela (D-TX-34).Adding their support for the companion resolution in the Senate are Sens. Rick Cramer (R-ND) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).
Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) and Michael Conaway (R-TX-11) are the principal cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 20). Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are the lead cosponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5).
“Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air,” reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.
The 161 House cosponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act include (new cosponsors in bold):
Ralph Abraham (R-LA-5)
Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15)
Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10)
The Local Radio Freedom Act’s 19 Senate cosponsors are (new cosponsor in bold):
John Barrasso (R-WY)
John Hoeven (R-ND)
President Donald Trump has one key factor in his favor ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.
Seventy-one percent of Americans say the economy is good, while only 27 percent rate it poor, according to a CNN poll released Monday. The last time respondents to the CNN poll held such rosy views of the economy was 2001.
Trump, saddled with a relatively poor approval rating in many swing electoral states, faces a challenging path to keeping the White House next year. If he stays in office, he may have a strong U.S. economy to thank.
Other recent polls have shown general optimism about the economy. In late February, 53 percent of Americans said they think there will not be a recession in the next 12 months, versus 33 percent who believe the economy will contract, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Generally, voters’ contentment with their wallets bodes well for an incumbent president. Trump has repeatedly pointed to a strong economy as evidence of his policy success as he seeks another term.
Still, even a strong economy may not save Trump. In the same CNN poll Monday, 42 percent of respondents said they approve of the job he is doing overall, while 51 percent said they disapprove.
While the president’s approval rating has climbed from 37 percent in a January CNN survey, it remains lower than a peak of 45 percent seen in March 2017.
It is also unclear whether the economy will drive voting choice more than other factors next November. In September 2018, 69 percent of respondents to a CNN poll said the economy was good.
About two months later, Trump’s Republican Party lost 40 net seats in the House and control of the chamber in the midterm elections. Several seats flipped to Democratic control in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states that helped to deliver the White House to Trump in 2016.
The CNN poll released Monday had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.