House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told Republicans Tuesday morning during their regular weekly meeting that Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.) would launch a discharge petition later that day to begin gathering signatures to force a vote on legislation authored by Democratic Rep. Health Shuler of North Carolina.
The Shuler bill, which would add 8,000 border enforcement agents, create a national database of eligible workers and expedite the deportation of undocumented immigrants, was offered as a political shield for Democrats in more conservative districts whose constituents are concerned about illegal immigration to the United States.
But the legislation has created headaches for Democratic leaders by angering members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and threatening already fragile negotiations over a significant overhaul of the current guest-worker system.
Republicans would need to gather 218 signatures to force a vote on the measure, meaning some of the Democrats who have already sponsored the Shuler bill would need to sign the petition before GOP lawmakers could force a vote on the House floor.
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