Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It seems as though House Republicans and some Democrats may push for a vote on the SAVE Act:

House Republicans are eyeing a bill by Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., that would do just that, as well as mandate that employers verify that their workers are in the U.S. legally.

Leaders are expected later this week to use a parliamentary tactic that would eventually force a vote on the measure if 218 lawmakers — a majority of the House — demand it. Republicans are pressuring Democratic backers of the measure — including several first-termers and dozens from swing districts, all facing tough re-election fights — to defy their leaders and sign the petition.

"Lots of Republicans and lots of Democrats would like to see something done," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the No. 2 whip, said Friday.

The move would be a rebuke to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who opposes the Shuler bill unless it's paired with measures to allow undocumented workers a chance at legal status and allow legal immigrants to bring more family members to the United States. Democratic leaders have been working behind the scenes to craft an alternative that could dissuade their more conservative members who back Shuler's bill from joining the GOP effort to press forward on it.

They are considering pairing a widely popular measure by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to allow more seasonal workers to come to the United States under so-called H-2B visas with proposals aimed at speeding the process of granting immigrants' spouses and minor children visas to join their parents in the U.S., among others. Also under discussion is a bill that would allow nonresident immigrants serving in the military to become citizens.

Pelosi seems like she wants to avoid a vote on this act, and it does seem as though she may fear being caught over a barrel: she doesn't want this bill to pass, but she doesn't want to endanger House Democrats who vote against this measure (and she does seem to think that voting against this measure may endanger some members). Especially as this bill focuses on employers, it may make Pelosi especially uncomfortable.