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Congressman David Dreier with more details about the House GOP plan to scuttle the existing Senate immigration bill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
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CPL: We are now fortunate enough to be on the phone with Congressman David Dreier, ranking member of the House Rules Committee. And Congressman Dreier, thank you so much for being with us.

DD: And my claim to fame, of course, Carol, is that you’re my constituent.

CPL: Well, we’re very proud of that on this end. And Congressman Dreier, we were just talking to Congressman Campbell, and heard a pretty interesting piece of what sounded like breaking news, and that was an effort being undertaken by some Republicans in the House, essentially to get together with a critical mass of people, signaling to the Republicans in the Senate that the immigration bill would be dead on arrival, should it come over to the House floor.

DD: Well, let me tell you what’s going to happen. Tomorrow morning at 9:00 here, 6:00 in California, the Republican Conference will vote for a simple, one sentence resolution that states that we do not support the Senate version of the immigration bill. You know, Carol, you and I have discussed this at length in the past when you’ve filled in for Hugh. You know, I very much want to get things done. The status quo, to me, is not acceptable.

CPL: Absolutely.

DD: We have de facto amnesty today for 12-20 million plus, people. And ignoring the problem is not a starter. And I believe that it’s imperative that we do take action. And of course, first and foremost, we should enforce the laws that we have today. That’s the priority number one. But at the same time, but this Senate bill, which grants tax amnesty to people who are here illegally, and Carol, you and I both would like to have a tax amnesty. Wouldn’t you like that?

CPL: Yeah, I’ll take one.

DD: Yeah, exactly. I would, too. And second, this notion of the Z visa…

CPL: Right.

DD: …which immediately, immediately legalizes people who have come into this country illegally, I think are non-starters. And so all we’re going to be doing is going on record as a Republican Conference, and I’m hoping very much that this’ll pass unanimously tomorrow morning, that we will be on the record stating that we do not support the Senate amnesty, so-called immigration bill.

CPL: Right. And that should be plenty, it would seem to me, to send a signal to the Senate Republicans who are wavering on the whole issue, that this isn’t something to walk the plank over, essentially. I mean, the idea is that it’s going to be dead on arrival, so don’t go and set yourself at odds with your constituents over something that has no chance whatsoever.

DD: Well Carol, here’s the interesting thing. I mean, what they’re going to be doing is they’re going to be having this cloture vote, and that would force them to go right into the process. I think that if they had a litany of amendments that cleaned up all of these terrible things, that the good things that are in this bill, like English being a national language, like dramatically increasing the size of the Border Patrol, and completing the 700 miles of the fence, I mean, these things are good, and the right things for us to do, coupled with encouragement for greater enforcement. I mean, those are the kinds of things that…you see, the Senate still has a chance to do that, Carol.

CPL: Right.

DD: And so that’s why, you know, a number of us feel strongly that what we’re going to be voting on tomorrow morning in the Republican Conference is this resolution that basically does not support the Senate bill as it is.

CPL: In its current form. So it’s kind of like, word to your mama. Unless you are able to reform this bill in a major way, it isn’t going anywhere over here.

DD: Yeah, and that’s…well, but here’s the problem, and this issue actually was raised by somebody with me who raised concern about this. This could send a signal to Nancy Pelosi that there won’t be any Republican votes, and so they might craft an even more liberal bill than the one that we’ve got. And that’s one of the things that has raised some concern for some. But frankly, I think it’s important that the Republican Conference go on record, sending this signal to the American people, and our colleagues in the other body.

CPL: And even if it did pass the House, it strikes me it would cause a lot of trouble for Nancy Pelosi’s moderate freshmen class to have a far left wing bill, and it wouldn’t have any chance of passing the Senate, anyway. I say bring it on.

DD: Absolutely. And…but I’m just saying that there are a lot of factors coming into play here, but I mean, I totally agree with you on that, and that’s why I think it’s the right thing that we’re going to be doing, is just for us to go on record. This is something that’s very unusual, but this immigration issue and border security issue is one that is so incredibly salient for every one of my colleagues in both the Senate and the House. But I think that this is going to be a good chance for us.

CPL: Right. And Congressman Dreier, just to change gears kind of quickly in our remaining moments…

DD: Sure.

CPL: I know you’re a supporter of Mayor Giuliani.

DD: Right.

CPL: Recent poll came out with Michael Bloomberg in the race. I find it hard to believe, given how liberal he is, but a recent poll said he would pull more support from Giuliani than from Hillary Clinton. Do you believe that? What’s your take on it, in 20 seconds?

DD: Yeah, tomorrow morning, Rudy Giuliani is going to be delivering an address at Regent University. And Charles Dunn, who is the dean of the Robertson School at Regent University, has made some statements about Rudy Giuliani drawing conservatives. So the answer is no, I don’t believe it.

CPL: Okay, I couldn’t agree more. I think he’s a liberal, and he’ll take from the liberals.

End of interview.

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