Democrat pushes House GOP to seek contempt charges for blocking immigration votes

After the latest episode of a House Freedom Caucus-led boycott of any vote on immigration legislation, Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings says she’s pursuing a plan with some of her GOP colleagues to seek contempt charges against one of the members of the group.

The current Democratic tally stands at 239 “no” votes.

Demings told the Associated Press that she would seek to submit a list of demands to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, if he were to choose to continue to allow a filibuster by Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina on the immigration measures under consideration. The Meadows move has forced a delay to Thursday’s planned vote on the three immigration bills — the three standing options on the table. The first bill, Republican Sens. Mike Lee and James Lankford’s proposal, was the first to be debated Thursday, falling short of the 218 needed to pass.

A group of Democrats have been calling on Gowdy to hold the Freedom Caucus members in contempt.

“The Freedom Caucus is filibustering on an issue that is widely supported by Republicans and Democrats,” Leah Daughtry, the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement to the AP. “The American people overwhelmingly support addressing Dreamers and border security — that is why the American people, including Democrats, overwhelmingly supported our immigration plan to avoid government shutdown and give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.”

While Meadows has been one of the most vocal lawmakers in supporting the conservative immigration measures that have emerged from the House, the centrist Democrats have also been vocal in their opposition.

In a statement to the AP after the Immigration and Border Security-Hatch Amendment debate on Thursday, Meadows said of the rules-defying: “I believe we will use that rule to send a message.”

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