Don Wolfensberger at The Hill:

Discharge petitions are seldom successful. According to data compiled by Brookings Institution senior fellow Sarah Binder, of the over 639 discharge petitions introduced from 1935 to 2022, roughly 4 percent have been successful. Binder estimates another 4 percent achieved the desired result by forcing action on the targeted bills utilizing different procedures.


McGovern, the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, and Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, had roughly the same idea. They both introduced discharge petitions on special rules that provided for consideration of shell bills having nothing to do with the president’s aid package. However, each bill would serve as a base for the automatic adoption of an amendment in the nature of a substitute containing all (or part of) the president’s assistance request. A “self-executing rule” simultaneously adopts an amendment with the vote on the rule.


The main difference is that McGovern is not publishing the substance of his substitute package, though he’s told the press it will be similar to the Senate-passed version. Under the terms of the rule, the substitute need not be unveiled until a day before its consideration if printed in the Congressional Record by the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.


Fitzpatrick’s rule does specify the exact language of his self-executed substitute amendment. It will be the text of H.R. 7372, a bill that he and a bipartisan group of cohorts introduced back in February, covering all four pieces of the president’s request with some modifications. Notwithstanding McGovern’s playing it close to the vest with his “pig in a poke” ploy, he had amassed 185 signatures as of Wednesday, whereas Fitzpatrick had only signed-on 15 members.


Meantime, Speaker Johnson is reportedly anguishing over inaction on aid to Ukraine and is trying to find a way to get it passed, possibly using the suspension process requiring a two-thirds vote. He knows it’s risky to proceed since some in the GOP’s isolationist wing have threatened a motion “to vacate the Chair” (oust him) if he schedules a Ukraine vote. He will reportedly not make a move on Ukraine until after completion of all the regular appropriations’ bills — a process that’s been wracked by its own history of travails over the last six months.


As for the president’s emergency aid package, it has indeed been a long and winding road filled with all manner of perils, pitfalls and potholes, and possibly more harrowing hairpin turns ahead.