The Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday denied Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s membership bid, the latest volley in a nasty dispute between the Florida lawmaker and some members of the all-Democratic caucus.
The CHC voted to oppose Curbelo’s bid to join after weeks of back-and-forth between him and some members of the group who have questioned whether his intentions were politically motivated. Curbelo represents a Latino-heavy district in Miami that is a top target for Democrats in 2018.
“I think it was pre-cooked,” Curbelo said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “I will stand up to bigotry and discrimination no matter whether it comes from the right, the left, the middle.”
The move comes as both the CHC and Curbelo are pushing for congressional leaders to secure a legislative fix by the end of the year for Dreamers, the young undocumented immigrants who could face deportation as soon as March.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he doesn’t want to tie Dreamer negotiations to a year-end spending bill but many lawmakers say they see that as the only viable option for addressing the issue before January.
Some CHC members were turned off by Curbelo’s refusal to back the DREAM Act, their bill to grant legal status to Dreamers. Curbelo has said he would vote for the Dream Act if it made it to the floor but has resisted CHC pressure to cosponsor the bill.
Curbelo told POLITICO he doesn’t expect their spat to hamper efforts to get a solution for Dreamers by the end of next year — while taking a shot at the CHC.
“I will not allow their bigotry and discrimination and pension for segregation to hurt the young people they claim they want to help and I certainly want to help,” Curbelo said.
CHC Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said the group’s decision wasn’t just based on the Dream Act but also Curbelo’s support for Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and the GOP tax bill.
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