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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Florida Stations
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined TV stations in Florida to discuss the migration crisis at the southern border, government spending deals, and more. See below for highlights.
On the crisis at the southern border:
“It’s the number one issue we have. In December, we had 300,000 people just walk into the country illegally. Since Joe Biden has been president, the number is close to seven million people. We don’t know the exact number. The most fundamental job of any country is to control its sovereignty: who comes in, when they come in, how many can come in, and at what time. If you take millions of people from anywhere, I don’t care what their background is, some percentage are going to be people that are going to do harm, whether they’re terrorists, criminals, or future criminals. That’s just a fact.
“We’re talking about migration on a monthly basis that equals the size of many American cities. Who’s going to pay for all this? I can tell you who’s paying for it. It’s kids that can’t go to school in some states. It’s local governments who are having to foot the bill to feed people, provide housing for people, housing that we don’t have. It’s all the problems that come with mass migration.
“It’s a problem all over the world. It’s the number one geopolitical trend. The most disruptive geopolitical trend in the last 10 years is mass migration. And it’s happening here in our country on a scale we’ve never seen. All of it is predictable, all of it preventable, and all of it encouraged by an administration who, from day one, has made clear they’re not going to do what it takes to discourage people from coming here. No matter what their rhetoric is, they’re not willing to do what it takes to keep people from coming here.”
On congressional negotiations to increase border security:
“I think [Senator Lankford] is trying to get things done that need to be done in the law, and they’re important. My problem remains this: we have an administration who, right now, has the ability through executive action to stop some of this flow, through the Trump-era policies that they immediately canceled upon taking office. They have the ability to do that right now, without having to take a vote, without having to pass a bill, and they refuse to do it. If this administration will not do what it is able to do right now under the law, what makes us believe that they’re going to do whatever it takes if we pass a law?
“I think some of the changes that are going to be proposed are not bad, like limiting the number of people that can be paroled into the country. Biden is paroling close to a million people a year. There are important changes in the law, and they’ll be important tools for a president in the future who cares about enforcing our immigration laws. But right now, this president has the ability to do things that he will not do. If he won’t do what he can already do, what makes us think he’s going to use this law to enforce our immigration standards? That’s my biggest concern in all of this.”
On working through the legislative process to avoid last-minute backroom deals:
“We’re going to continue to fund the government at its current levels. That’s what our continuing resolution means. I don’t think we should shut down the government. I don’t think government shutdowns are ever good. But how we really run this government is by passing what they call appropriations bills, spending bills. We have passed those out of the Senate committees. Chuck Schumer has only put three of them up for a vote. I don’t know what the delay has been. It’s not like we’re so busy around here that we don’t have time to get to them.
“One of the reasons why is, it’s become a habit, no matter who’s in power, Republicans or Democrats, for the chairmen of these committees, and particularly the leaders, to not pass these bills. It gives them a lot of power. When you pass these bills, it has to go through what they call regular order. The rank and file members get to vote on them and change them and so forth. When you hit these deadlines and these urgent moments, then what they can do is, just a handful of people and their staff go into some room somewhere, while everyone’s out of town, and they come up with a deal that only a handful of people agree on, and then you come back and they say, ‘Here’s the deal, take it or leave it.’
“We have got to get out of this habit of deals. We have got to get out of this habit of gangs of people meeting and coming up with things. We have got to get back to the way this thing is supposed to work: you put a law or a funding mechanism through a committee, you have debate, you have amendments, you take it to the floor, and you give everybody a chance to be represented and have their voice heard. We have got to get back to that. And that requires us to start working on it. The president didn’t even submit his budget until really late in the process, which is the starting point for all of this. But we have got to get back to that.”
On whether things would work differently under regular order:
“I don’t know. We’re going to have to find out. We’re about to see whether, in fact, Chuck Schumer is going to allow these bills to come to a floor vote. This week, we have only voted on the continuing resolution and spent a lot of time voting on nominees, which is fine. But we can also be voting on some of these things. They just don’t want to do it.
“There’s a lot of reasons why Schumer doesn’t want to do it. One of them is to protect members he thinks are vulnerable in an election year from taking votes—on amendments, on the border, or on what have you—that they don’t want to take. The other [reason] is that it empowers him.
“Until rank and file members in both parties demand regular order of their leadership, as I’ve been doing and others have been doing—Rick Scott’s been a big voice in that—we’re not going to see this happen. Hopefully, it’ll begin to happen in the House.
“Politics is a practical business. It is the business of governance. That means that you’re not always going to get what you want. But as long as you’re moving the country to be going in a good direction, that’s a positive. I think most people around here would accept that, but we’re not even doing that right now. We’re being given these ‘take it or leave it’ propositions negotiated by just a small number of people, and that needs to stop. I think, at some point, we have to draw a line in the sand. But it will take members in both parties to do that.”