Jansing and Co | January 28, 2013
>>> who joins us right now. congressman, thanks for being here.
>> good morning.
>> let me start with this. even john boehner said now is the time to deal with immigration. but, you know the questions you were just talking about. is will some of your colleagues on the far right, tea partyiers, perhaps, support this path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?
>> well, you know, jackie kucinich had it exactly right. this has the prospect of suh success. it's all about whether house republicans are willing to stand up to the tea party base. you've got a bipartisan group of senators left and right advocating a path forward. you've got the president of the united states who will unveil his views on a path forward. what this comes down to now is will these house republicans who have pandered to their intolerant tea party base, who have fed into the extremism of that tea party base, are they willing to stand up to the tea party and do what's right for america? we'll see whether they're able to amass the votes to get us forward.
>> they might see this is amnesty. what would you say?
>> well, you know what? i'm interested in solutions. i'm not interested in rhetoric. i'm not interested in finger pointing. i'm not interested in the old debates, the old sound bites . we need a solution that is fair and balanced . that secures our borders. that has tough, verifiable enforcement. but also provides a path to citizenship for those who are here and part of our economy. when you've got republican senators who are willing to support this, it's time for house republicans to support it as well.
>> as you know, part of this plan that was put out and we got the details overnight, it promotes a guest worker program geared toward the needs of farmers. that's important to many states in the south as well as the west. but it's something that unions including the afl/cio has argued would institutionallize, basically, a second class work force that could be exploited by employers. with that idea, how do you win union support?
>> well, look. you've got a bipartisan group of senators who've put this out as a starting point. the president of the united states is going to provide his views in las vegas tomorrow. this is for the first time you've got people on both sides of the aisle who are beginning the debate. beginning the conversation. with the aim of getting to a solution. this is not going to be perfect. immigration is a very difficult problem to solve. nobody's going to be entirely happy at the end of the day . but if we can arrive at a bipartisan solution and make it as good as possible, it would be a heck of a lot better than the broken and dysfunctional system that we have now. so we should bring all the stakeholders in, have this dialogue, move forward and hope that house republicans for once and for all will stand up to their own tea party compromise and solutions.
>> i want to switch subjects for a moment here, congressman. we're also seeing the president meeting with sheriffs and law enforcement this morning to push his gun control legislation. have you seen any movement from republicans on that issue?
>> i've seen movement, but backwards. you know, we keep on seeing these tragedies and viewing them as teachable moments. and then we very quickly forget the lessons until the next tragedy. we cannot allow this lesson to escape us. it's time for common sense reforms. yesterday i heard general mcchrystal, who i visited in afghanistan, who was the commander of our forces in afghanistan, talk about the fact that, you know, we have troops who handle assault weapons , military weapons. but not without care and training. and we need the same kind of common sense reforms in the united states with respect to limiting magazines and universal background checks. those are good starts and we ought to get that done quickly.
>> what do you see happening first? we talked about immigration reform and then we talked about gun control . it will be a very difficult season with all the political capital that may be expended by this president. which is most likely to get through first?
>> you know, i've learned that with this republican majority in congress, the only thing that's predictable is the unpredictable will happen. i think it is a good sign that you do have a specific and concrete bipartisan support in the senate for immigration reform . now as jackie said, we have to see whether there will be enough house republicans that will join that bipartisanship and pass immigration reform . i'm hopeful that we can get there. as long as they're willing to vote with republican senators and not cater to extremism and intolerance.
>> congressman steve israel , thank you so much for your time today. back to our journalists