House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco opened on Wednesday an effort to force House Republicans to bring an immigration overhaul to a vote. Most observers think the effort is doomed. House Republicans rapidly backed off the reform “principles” they floated earlier this year and are running flat out on Obamacare for the midterms.

The discharge petition is a rarely used parliamentary move that requires gathering 218 signatures, a majority of the House, to force a vote on legislation.

Even California Republicans from heavily Latino districts in the Central Valley such as Jeff Denham, David Valadeo and Kevin McCarthy seem unlikely to buck their leadership on this one, despite supporting the earlier principles.

Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a flippant note to the media this morning saying, “Folks – If you are covering House Democrats’ latest discharge petition today, please make sure your coverage reflects this clear-eyed assessment of the chances of success from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA: “We’ll never get to 218 on the discharge petition.” And be sure to wish her a happy birthday!”

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