Today on the Hill: Dem Leader Sees Shock Primary Loss; House to Try Again on Immigration

In a shocking upset for the Democratic establishment, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) — the No. 4 Democrat in the House — was unseated by progressive newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in last night’s primary election for New York’s 14th congressional district. The 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez was an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) presidential campaign and ran on a platform of generational, racial, and ideological change. Rep. Crowley is the first House Democrat to lose a primary in 2018, a loss that marks the most significant for a congressional incumbent since former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost to Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) in Virginia’s 7th congressional district in 2014.

Last night’s political bombshell will be accompanied by a busy day on the House floor today. The primary item will be the consideration of a long-negotiated immigration package (H.R. 6136) that will attempt to unify Republicans on a set of proposals that would make significant changes to the legal immigration system and create a permanent legal status for Dreamers. However, most observers believe the bill is likely to fail due to opponents on both the moderate and conservative side of the spectrum, meaning that the myriad of immigration-related problems that have captured headlines over the past year are likely to continue without a legislative solution before this fall’s midterm elections. Also included on the House’s docket today are five suspension bills, a Motion to Go to Conference on the National Defense Authorization Act, and completing consideration of the bipartisan defense appropriations bill (H.R. 6157).

In the Senate, lawmakers are due to continue debate on the upper chamber’s version of the farm bill, with amendment votes expected on proposals to require congressional approval of import tariffs and an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement of administration policy opposing the Senate’s farm bill tweaks, arguing that it would prefer a package that includes the changes to food stamp programs that passed in the House. However, the Administration stopped short of issuing a veto threat and the Senate remains unlikely to include the controversial work requirement provisions.