What’s that old saying?
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
Congressional Democrats failed to pass a Venezuelan TPS bill in the House earlier this week, but after pressing Republicans to back the measure, the bill passed with a 272-158 bipartisan vote.
The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 (H.R. 549), which passed by simple majority, when 39 Republicans joined 232 Democrats to ensure passage, designates Venezuelans for TPS for an initial 18 months, with the option to renew the status.
Opponents of the bill say that TPS for roughly 200,000 Venezuelans living in the U.S. would actually be a permanent pathway to citizenship, and not a temporary status.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) has filed pro-Venezuela TPS legislation in the U.S. Senate, and House Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to see that Rubio’s bill passes in the senate.
HISTORIC! House passes our bipartisan #VenezuelaTPS Act, protecting hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan nationals from deportation. Upholding our American values of democracy & compassion!
— US Rep. Darren Soto (@RepDarrenSoto) July 25, 2019
The Trump administration has not stated that it opposes granting TPS for Venezuelans, but its silence on the matter leaves many legislators believing that the administration does not support the measure.
Unlike the Obama administration, President Trump has levied unprecedented economic sanctions against the Maduro regime in Venezuela, but that his anti-Maduro stance is not enough for many House Democrats.
“After months of inaction and empty promises from the Trump Administration, I am proud that the House passed temporary protected status – critical deportation relief – with strong bipartisan support,” said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. “In Miami, I routinely meet with reporters who have fled their homes because a free press does not exist in Venezuela. Just this week, more rolling blackouts hit the country, jeopardizing the lives of hospital patients and sending the country into darkness.
Even if Nicolás Maduro, the leader of the brutal narco-regime, were to leave today, ‘extraordinary and temporary conditions exist’ that would prevent Venezuelans from safely returning. There is no doubt Maduro’s regime has plunged Venezuela into catastrophe. I hope the Senate and the White House will hear the Venezuelan community’s loud calls for help and swiftly pass TPS.”
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) echoed Rep. Mucarsel-Powell, saying that “after months of inaction from the President, House Democrats stepped into the void and extended life-saving protections to Venezuelans who fled starvation, violence, and persecution.”
“Today, the House of Representatives was able to gather the strong, bipartisan support needed to pass the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019,” said bill sponsor Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) “Today’s vote was an important victory toward the goal of ensuring that Venezuelan nationals who have fled the oppressive Maduro dictatorship are granted temporary protected status in the United States until it is safe for them to return to Venezuela.
Two other cosponsors of the bill, Reps Donna Shalala (D) and Stephanie Murphy (D) release statements regarding the bill’s passage.
“Today, Venezuela is the site of the hemisphere’s largest economic, political, and humanitarian crisis. Millions of people have fled its borders in the last few years to escape extreme violence, economic collapse, and acute shortages of food and medicine. Since its founding, the United States has always been a proud refuge to the persecuted of the world. By granting TPS to those Venezuelans currently in the United States, the House not only acted to preserve our American legacy and values, but we have given hope to thousands of people in my district whose lives would be jeopardized if they were forced to return to Venezuela…”– Rep. Donna Shalala
“Venezuela is in absolute crisis, and making Venezuelans in the U.S. go home right now is immoral. In some cases, it could be a death sentence. Requiring people who have sought refuge in America to return to a failed state violates our core values as a nation. Passing TPS is a critical step—but for Venezuela to prosper, and for the U.S. to protect its national security, the Maduro regime must go.”– Rep. Stephanie Murphy
The only Florida Republicans to vote for the protection status were Reps. Ted Yoho, Francis Rooney, and Ross Spano.