Barr won't sign discharge petition to force immigration vote; says he's secured deal for guest worker reforms later this session

06/11/2018 03:41 PM

LEXINGTON – U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, appeared in his hometown on Monday, before a tumultuous week on Capitol Hill, where moderates in his party are trying to force a vote on immigration before the midterm elections in November.

Barr, who is up for re-election in the 6th Congressional District against former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, said he will not sign a discharge petition to move the immigration fight forward — rather hoping for a comprehensive solution through normal channels.

“That simply turns our majority over to Nancy Pelosi, that simply isn’t the way to get immigration solution across the finish line to the president’s desk,” he said.

Like in Frankfort, a discharge petition in the U.S House of Representatives is rarely used procedural measure aimed at bringing legislation out of committee, and onto the floor for a vote. In the U.S. House Democrats need to join with moderate Republicans in getting to 219 signatures needed to force a vote, and they’re close — just three signatures away from success.

Attempts to bring the bill out-of-committee are expected to take place on Tuesday, when Representatives return to work.

Barr said the Republican caucus met last week, and now he’s not so sure any Republican members will actually sign a petition.

“All party’s involved aired their grievances, voiced their concerns, their policy preferences and the border security hawks within the Republican conference are working very cooperatively with some of our members who are more keenly focused on a fix for the dreamers and DACA,” he said. “And there are many of us who are concerned about many of these problems.”

Barr, who joined Congress after defeating Rep. Ben Chandler in 2012, said he told leadership in the GOP conference that there needs to be a fix for guest worker programs, like H2B, which impacts the horse community in Kentucky.

“This immediate solution may not include guest worker reforms, but in the course of our discussions last week I was able to secure a commitment from our leadership that if we get this deal passed, the deal with Dreamers and border security, the next round of legislative proposals we consider, hopefully before August, will be streamlining and fixing our broken guest worker programs as well.”

Barr believes those issues can be addressed this legislative session.

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