Alex Witt | June 22, 2013
>>> on monday the senate will hold a vote on a major amendment. it will have to get through the house where failure of this farm bill and speaker boehner support does not mean votes. thank you for joining us in studio. before we get some immigration issues i want to talk about the farm bill . $40 billion more so in cuts over ten years. 20.5 came from the food stamp program . you voted against it. tell me why.
>> first of all this program is needed because of the recession and continued unemployment. we have greater need for food stamps . i think it makes in sense to cut those programs when you have the need. it stimulates the economy. when people get food stamps they go out and buy things. that helps the economy and creates jobs. it makes no sense.
>> what was interesting you and your colleagues for the most part in terms of the democratic party said this went way too far. the republicans said it didn't go far enough. with that big of a divide did we expect dmanything to get through?
>> it's going to be tough. i know you talked about the immigration reform . i think there's an effort on the part of the republican leadership to try to pass an immigration reform bill. they are putting so many roadblocks in the way. in the house you may have read that they voted on an amendment. this was like a tea party right wing amendment that makes being in the united states a crime. another amendment that gets rid of the dreamers act that lets young people stay here and not be deported. then the speaker is saying he won't let the bill go to the floor unless it has a majority of the republicans which would include the tea party . we've got a long way to go.
>> people arie looking to what happened to the farm bill . do you agree with that?
>> i think ultimately he has. i don't think he can pass it past the republicans.
>> in terms of the whisper campaign in the halls of congress do you sense that speaker boehner's job is in danger or it's a job that nobody really wants now? doesn't look like eric cantor is going after it.
>> i think he's playing these games. he's got these 70 or 80 tea party republicans that's like the tail wagging the dog. they constantly threaten him. he's trying to figure out how to pass things. it's not a job that's desirable.
>> immigration bill , where do you stand on it?
>> i'm forit. we do have to be careful it provide a pathway to citizenship that's not too difficult.
>> or costly.
>> it's interesting because you brought up the farm bill and that $30 billion for the fencing is almost the same as the 25 billion for the food stamps . think about it. we're spending all this money on fencing that could be used to pay for the extra food stamps . i don't know that fencing is really worth it but we'll have to take some compromises to get this passed.
>> what about the fencing and agents using high-tech drone technology to monitor the borders. what do you think about that?
>> it's a good idea to look at new technologies but i think a lot of these things are being put in for political reasons and we don't know if they work. rather than load up this bill with drones and fencing, i think we should try to pass the bill and let the department of homeland security make other recommendations about what really works. this is all being thrown in for political reasons it's very expensive and may not work.
>> may i ask you about what you're doing this summer. i said you need to have track shoes on.
>> we have the u.s. senate race. it's coming up in a special election on august 13th . i'm out there campaigning. i believe i'm the best candidate because i'm the person that gets things done. i've accomplished a lot over the yeast like the health care reform . i believe people want someone who knows,000 get things done in washington.
>> it's been suggested that your thoughts, your opinion, vote most cloerly mirror those of frank lautenburg.
>> it's true.
>> good luck to you.