Morning Joe | February 25, 2013
>>> here with us now, chairman of the house homeland security committee , republican representative from texas , congressman michael mccaul . good to have you on the show.
>> good morning. thanks for having me.
>> the reason he's here is two interesting.
>> he's a republican from austin , texas .
>> and he's a texas republican who's also catholic.
>> i don't know that i met, in my years in congress, a texas republican who is catholic.
>> i just reach out to all walks of life, you know?
>> i just assume, like me, you're southern baptist . you're a congressman from the south, but not you.
>> irish catholic like chris matthews that just left. was with the mayor last night, bloomberg . he wanted me to give you two gifts that i actually had for him, but i forgot. i left it in the room. one is a texas longhorn coffee mug .
>> oh, cool.
>> i love the longhorns, especially when we play them in the national championship game .
>> my home city of austin , this is the big motto, " keep austin weird ."
>> it's kind of ugly.
>> i can't see joe wearing that.
>> i want you to wear that. will you, please? i dare you.
>> i actually wrote a song one time called " austin , texas ." the opening lines were, "i met a girl from austin , texas , who turned out to be an l.a. man. what's the deal with austin , texas ? please help this redneck understand." so i relate to this. and when i see austin , texas , i'm going to be wearing that shirt.
>> wear that baby down there.
>> that's great.
>> thank you. for the mug.
>> you get the mug. he gets the shirt.
>> it is a great mug. seriously, i love when the crimson tide play the longhorns in national championship games.
>> we want to give a replica of that shirt for mckinnon. he already has one.
>> he is weird.
>> made out of hemp. let's talk a couple things. first of all, we're talking about the sequester today. you are chairman, obviously, of homeland security committee . how would these cuts impact homeland security ?
>> well, i think they would have a deep, deep cut . i think that sequester was never supposed to happen. it was the president's idea. we proposed two bills to replace sequester. and the senate has failed to act. i think, you know, the president has a lot of capital now. and i think that he should be coming to the congress and talking about not just a quarter piece of the pie but the three quarters that no one's talking about, and that's the entitlement reforms. this is a major driver of spending. and if we're ever going to get this under control, that's what we need to tackle.
>> if there's going to be a big deal , obviously both sides will have to come to the table. democrats will have to come with entitlement reform. and republicans are going to have to come with tax reform that closes some loopholes. you think you could get enough republicans on board if there's a big enough package?
>> tax reform , we're all for that, too. closing loopholes. but again, lowering interest rates while doing that. i think that's what we would like to do. i know boehner's tried to reach this big deal , grand bargain, and he feels like he got rolled under the bus by the president.
>> so you would not be against closing loopholes?
>> no, i think there are many -- and i think the speaker talked about doing just that. i think, you know, this can be done. this can be done. those are the two components, entitlement reform, closing loopholes, bring down tax rates . you know, i was reading a book about john kennedy last night, and he advocates cutting taxes to getting the american people 's economy going again. rising tide floats all boats. and yet this president just raised taxes. now he wants to raise them again. i don't think that's where his party should be going.
>> let's talk also about immigration. obviously, you're concerned about borders. we're hearing that immigration reform is going to pass through. but you don't think it should pass unless border security is tightened. we had somebody from bloomberg , speaking of bloomberg , had somebody here last week saying that the crisis along the border is not as bad as it used to be because through attrition, a lot of illegal immigrants are going home .
>> it's better. but it's not secure.
>> how much better is it? give me some perspective.
>> i was down there with mccain in arizona. and my counterpart in the senate, senator carper in arizona. look, it's better, but the technology piece is not down there. what i mean by that, the surveillance technology , integrated fix towers, we're going to get a lot of equipment from afghanistan and iraq we've already paid for to redeploy to the southwest border. i think that's smart. the more we get that done, the more people on my side of the aisle will be more willing to have that debate about immigration reform that we need to have. i think we all recognize that. knowing who's coming and going is critical if you're going to do a guest worker program .
>> which by the way right now the unions don't want the guest worker program . i think that's going to be part of the final package. you know what's so ironic, mike, is republicans right now are wary about immigration reform for a lot of reasons. they think it's going to pass. but you talk to them about what scares them the most. talk about the plan that reagan passed. which was amnesty. and it actually attracted even more illegal immigrants after the reagan plan passed. he said, listen, if we're going to pass reform, let's pass reform. but let's make sure we don't have a repeat of the reagan episode.
>> yeah. and what kind of a threshold are you looking for that you'd feel comfortable with in terms of the technology that you were talking about? you're going to have cutbacks. you're going to lose border patrol agents. you're going to lose feet on the ground, aren't we?
>> well, i think a lot of this technology has already been budgeted for, which is the good news. i talked to the people at dhs about this. those towers will be contracted will be on the ground by next february. these aerostats in afghanistan that we've already paid for, we're going to bring them back. these are air assets to see what's going on on the ground. yeah, we may have to appropriate more for this, but honestly, we've been doing this for too long. it's time to get it done. and i think it will advance the immigration reform debate.
>> congressman mike mccaul , we don't have enough time. he should come back.
>> come back.
>> come back.
>> i'm here for the 20th anniversary of the world trade center bombing . one of the first things i want to do as chairman is to come up to new york, meet with ray kelly , see the counterterrorism operations. and remember that fateful day and make sure that that never happens again.
>> thank you very much for coming on the show this morning.
>> thanks for having me.
>> good to meet you.
>>> up next, "mojo football frenzy" with roger bennett . you're watching " morning joe " brewed by starbucks.