Kern County's 2 congressmen on opposing sides of hotly debated immigration-reform effort

At left, Rep. Kevin McCarthy attends an event in Bakersfield, Calif., in May 2018. At right, Rep. David Valadao speaks March 29, 2018, at Eyewitness News. (KBAK/KBFX photos)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – The two congressmen who represent Kern County are taking opposing sides on a hotly debated immigration-reform effort.

A group of House Republicans with more moderate views on immigration want to force votes on four rival immigration proposals. Twenty Republicans, including Rep. David Valadao, have signed the so-called discharge petition to trigger debates and votes.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Bakersfield, has voiced opposition to the petition.

Valadao said he signed the petition because addressing immigration reform can’t wait.

Meanwhile, McCarthy and Speaker Paul Ryan have said fast-tracking a vote on immigration doesn’t do any good unless there’s a bill the president is willing to sign.

The maverick Republicans, including Valadao, want to allow votes on a hard-right immigration bill, a liberal one, a bipartisan compromise and any immigration bill of Ryan's choosing. Under their plan, the measure that passes with the most votes would prevail, according to The Associated Press.

CNN is reporting most House Democrats would likely support the petition.

The AP is reporting that Republican leaders privately warned GOP lawmakers Wednesday that forcing immigration votes now could damage the party's prospects in the fall's congressional elections by dispiriting conservative voters. The AP cited sources from a closed-door meeting.

The House leaders fear the winning legislation would be a compromise bill backed solidly by Democrats but opposed by most Republicans, an outcome that could anger conservatives, the AP reports.

The AP cited an anonymous source from that closed-door meeting that it was McCarthy issuing the warning against the petition.

Asked about his remarks, McCarthy said his objection to the procedure was that it would in effect "turn the floor over" to Democrats, the AP reported.

Valadao, by contrast, released a statement last week in which he said, "Immigration reform is not a partisan issue, and, for far too long, Republicans and Democrats alike have failed to provide America with a solution.”

Valadao’s statement continued:

“Since coming to Congress, I have worked with Republicans and Democrats to repair our broken system, implement a solution for DACA recipients, and secure our border. However, this issue has gone unresolved for too long. Addressing immigration reform in the House cannot wait. I am serious about making real progress and will remain committed to doing whatever it takes to repair our broken immigration system.”


Information from The Associated Press and CNN was used in this report.

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