Discharge Petition on Dreamers: An Explainer

A group of House Republicans, led by Representatives. Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida) and Jeff Denham (R-California), filed a discharge petition on May 9 that would require the U.S. House of Representatives to debate and vote on four immigration bills to address the future of Dreamers.

What is a Discharge Petition?

A discharge petition is a legislative maneuver that allows a majority of House Members to bring a bill for debate and a vote on the House floor, even if the bill does not have the support of House leaders or has not been reported out of committee. To be successful, a discharge petition requires the signature of at least 218 House Members – an absolute majority of the House.

By the end of June 6, 23 Republicans and 192 Democrat had signed onto the discharge petition. Since it is expected that nearly, if not all, of the remaining 191 Democrats in the House will add their names, the discharge petition needs the support of at least 25 House Republicans.

Once a discharge petition obtains 218 signatures, seven legislative days must pass before it can be voted upon. The House of Representatives only considers discharge petitions on the second or fourth Monday of the month. Under this rule, the soonest the discharge petition on Dreamers becomes eligible for consideration is on June 25 – but only if 218 lawmakers have signed onto the petition by June 11.

Representative Curbelo said that he filed the discharge petition because immigration – including a fix for DACA – has been “paralyzed [in the House] for far too long” and Congress “needs to act.”

What is the “Queen of the Hill” Resolution?

The discharge petition would require the House to debate and vote on the “Queen of the Hill” resolution on Dreamers (H. Res. 774), introduced by Representative Denham on March 13.

The “Queen of the Hill” resolution would allow for sequential votes on four immigration bills. The bill that receives the most votes, regardless of the order in which it was voted on, passes the House and would be referred to the Senate. The four immigration bills, or modified versions of the bills, that would receive a vote are the following:

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