House Republican leadership threw its whipping operation into high gear Wednesday, teaming with powerful committee chairmen and popular conservatives to convince a handful of their on-the-fence colleagues to support an emergency border-funding package that looms as the final obstacle between lawmakers and a five-week summer vacation.
Rep. Steve Scalise, the incoming majority whip, has been working overtime with his vote-counting team to identify where members stand on the $659 million package that addresses security and humanitarian concerns at the southern border. Those efforts appeared to be paying off Wednesday afternoon, when several people familiar with the whipping effort told National Journal that Republican leadership is confident they will pass the bill Thursday without even needing Democratic votes.
"Everything is coming together," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, the chief deputy whip.
"We're in very good shape," added a senior GOP aide who has seen the numbers.
But a triumphant debut for Scalise and incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is far from guaranteed. There remains a small block of opposition—somewhere between 10 and 25 Republicans—that could defect and force GOP leadership to depend on Democratic votes to win approval for the measure. These members are unhappy not with the content of the bill, but with the language that was left out. This remnant of malcontents demands a provision repealing President Obama's executive order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA; some are also calling for Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte's language that would tweak U.S. asylum laws.