Usually the word “discharge” has a negative connotation, at least in the medical sense; however, could discharge may be a positive thing in the context of immigration reform? As we all know, comprehensive immigration reform has stalled in the House, after the Senate passed a comprehensive bill last year. Democratic representatives appear ready to try and kick start renewed efforts to revive reform by using a procedural maneuver known as a “discharge petition.”
A discharge petition is a petition that requires signature by a majority of House members which would compel a discharge of the petition from committee (where it is currently stalled), and moved to the House floor for a vote. According to reports, Nancy Pelosi, Houser Minority Leader, plans on submitting a petition to discharge the stalled reform bill from committee as a way around John Boehner, who is currently blocking the bill from the House floor.
It is very unlikely that Pelosi will be able to get the majority of signatures needed to gain a discharge of the reform bill from committee. Rumor has it that Boehner has already put word out that Republicans should not sign the petition, or else…. Effectively, Pelosi’s efforts will be like the angry little brother who is swinging wildly at his older brother while the older brother holds him at bay by placing a firm hand on little brother’s head. In short, don’t get your hopes up thinking that the discharge petition might shake reform loose. Best to be patient and bide our time until the lame-duck session when it would be politically more convenient for Boehner to give way to reform. November can’t come soon enough.