The House GOP leadership has instructed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) to reschedule a meeting in late March where eight bills the party had prioritized were supposed to be taken up in the first step toward a House floor vote, a source with firsthand knowledge of the conversations confirmed to the Washington Examiner on Thursday.
The delay is but another setback for rank-and-file Republicans whose leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), vowed in the weeks after last November’s election to make resolving the border crisis his chief priority but has little to show for it.
The eight bills will not see any action until, at the earliest, mid-April, after lawmakers return from Easter recess, according to a report by Punchbowl News earlier on Thursday.
“We’re still talking about when it happens,” Jordan told the outlet about his talks with McCarthy. “I want to go as quick as we can, but we’ll see.”
McCarthy had promised Freedom Caucus members to fast-track a package of border bills during his negotiation for their support of his speakership bid in January, according to a Washington Post report. However, the speaker’s aides disclosed that that would no longer be the case and the legislation must clear the committee level before getting a floor vote, setting it up for changes.
Internally, Republicans from Texas have fought over the bills in the package, including the use of the Border Safety and Security Act of 2023 as the vehicle to tackle the border crisis. H.R. 29 was reintroduced this session by immigration stalwart Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, the Freedom Caucus’s policy chairman.
One centrist Republican has refused to get in line over concerns that Roy’s bill would go too far.
“H.R. 29 is all hat and no cattle,” Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) said in a statement to the Washington Examiner in February. “It would essentially prevent legal asylum claims such as migrants fleeing religious or political persecution from a safe haven in the United States. Not only is this radical position un-American; it would worsen our border crisis and incentivize human smugglers to continue sneaking people into our country illegally.”
With a slim 222-213 majority in the House, Republicans can only afford to lose a handful of votes for legislation to pass. GOP leadership intends to nail down full party support before the bills leave the committee, the same aide told the Washington Examiner Thursday.