AURORA | The effort to force a vote on a bill that would have extended protection to young immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. by Aurora GOP Congressman Mike Coffman was short lived.
Coffman made a deal with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to delay gathering support for the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act, also called the BRIDGE Act, so that Congress can focus on a long-term legislative fix, according to a report from The Hill, a Washington, D.C. political news outlet.
The BRIDGE Act would have extended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, for three years under the assumption Congress would find a more permanent fix. But in the wake of the Trump administration’s move to end DACA, members of Congress from across the political spectrum have united to sponsor the Dream Act of 2017 — both Sen. Cory Gardner and Sen. Michael Bennet said they would sponsor the bill, which creates a legal pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.
Coffman’s deal with Ryan comes just days after Coffman announced he would file a discharge petition to move the bill from committee to the House floor for a vote. The petition requires 218 signatures, and is a rare legislative maneuver for members of the majority party.
Right now Coffman only has the support from three congressmen, Reps. Jared Polis, D-CO, Adam Smith, D-WA, and Bobby Rush, D-Ill.
Even with a new legislative fix for DACA in the works, Coffman said in a statement that the BRIDGE Act still remains an option in the future, should other measures fall short.
“When I announced a week ago that I would file a discharge petition, my goal was simple — force action on behalf of the dreamers. In the week since, Republicans from around the country have joined our push,” Coffman said in a statement. “This morning, the Speaker told me he intends to work on an immigration measure that includes protection for DACA kids. This is a positive development, and I thank the Speaker for it. With that said, the discharge petition has been filed, and it will continue to be an outlet if we can’t get a bill to the floor. I appreciate the Speaker’s leadership on this issue and strongly believe Congress needs to finish this important job.”
The campaign for Democratic challenger Jason Crow equates the deal to abandoning the the act.
“Coffman got the press coverage he wanted in Colorado; now, Coffman is back in Washington abandoning Colorado’s DREAMers,” the statement said.
Likewise, David Aarestad, another contender hoping to oust the congressman, said in a statement Coffman “showed genuine leadership for a couple days,” adding that it’s a “shame he didn’t have the drive to see it through.”
A spokesperson for Coffman was not immediately available for further comment.