Meet the Press   |  July 07, 2013

2: Rep. Labrador, panel weighs in on health care

Rep. Raul Labrador, and a Meet the press panel discuss the latest hiccup with President Obama’s health care reform and the chance of a Republican-led House passing immigration reform.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back with our political roundtable. columnist for "the new york time times", david brooks , columnist for the " washington post ," e.j. dionne , " washington post " columnist eugene robinson and still here andrea mitchell and chuck todd . i want to switch gears from foreign policy to domestic policy on a lot of fights back at home including, david brooks , health care . i talked to a business leader about a week ago. he said still couldn't understand why the administration would pass a health care law and execute on a health care law the impact of which was so uncertain. he said we would never do that in business. and here was another example of that. explain what's happened and the impact.

>> what they're trying to do is regulate 17% of the u.s. economy , roughly the size of the economy of france. that's bound to be a problem. that's bound to go through messy things. the employer mandate which is delayed is the smallest foothill of the problems. the biggest problems are the exchanges, where young people don't have incentive. those will be big and messy. whether you support it or oppose it, you have to be ready for the messiness. the crucial thing for us is how does that messiness interact with the political system . we could be at p moment of peak messiness just as the midterm elections come around. so the administration is concerned about that intersection and one of the things they did with this employer mandate is pushed it back until after the midterm elections . i personally think if we could just have mells siness, work it through, somehow they'd fix it. but when the political system comes in the middle, that could throw it off.

>> the political system , e.j., is house republicans thinking back to the glory days of 2010 when republicans took the house based on health care , and eric cantor tweeting this week, why does president obama think businesses deserve a delay from the man dailts in obama care but you don't? it's time for a #permanentdelay.

>> one of the things i tell that businessman is a lot of people in business that made a lot of money by taking chances. it's not as if trying to do something new is easy and trying to do something new is often the right thing to do. and i think in the case of that health care law , david's right, there is a clash with the political system because in the past, in many cases, we've always passed complicated laws that congress went back and they could fix it. and the republicans in this case say we're never going to fix this. we're going to let it run forward. we fix social security over and over again after it passed to make it better. this has been a bad week for obama because the last thing they wanted to do is say these mandate -- this mandate won't work as well this way and we don't want to -- they don't like that. but the big tasks are due do these exchanges, these marketplaces where people can find insurance work? do they sign up young people ? and will there be states throughout that actually make this thing work so that the obama people and supporters of reform can say, look, this can work if states put their shoulder to the wheel?

>> eugene robinson , beyond exactly how the exchanges are going to work, but i don't understand all the ins and outs of the employer mandate and how that works. but anybody who gets a paycheck in this country understands one thing, that there's a new line item and it says medicare surtax. so the tax part's working. you're paying more taxes for obama care. that part's working. it makes a lot of people mad.

>> yeah, look, but let's back up for a second. this fight really is wholly political. obama care is not going to be repealed. they're not going to have majorities in either house to repeal it and in fact president obama would never sign that. soilt's going to be messy. it's going to be politically contentious. but in the end it's going to work out the way it works out. and, you know, if it's a big bust, then there's political problems down the road. but it's going to happen.

>> but for it to work, the exchanges have to take place, and state after state now, run by republican governors and republican legislatures are trying to roll back or have rolled back or saying that won't participate. and you have to have a certain coherent whole for this to work economically. you can't nibble away at it. in fact, these are big bites out of it. i think also in the reporting losing that mandate is such a concession, it may not be the biggest piece of it, but it's a concession to the critics that something needs to be delayed, that something's not working. i think that's a politically damaging moment.

>> they'll admit that the business mandate was poorly written, that they normally would have sought a legislative fix, what e.j. was talking about. but they can't get a legislative fix out of the house . but the bigger issue here i think for the administration is that they don't seem -- they've got to build all this, they know that -- they thought that republicans after the election would basically concede this is going to be the law of the land and they would be in the mode of, okay, we he'll try and fix it, try to get as much as we can to change it in ways that we think business wants to change or change in ways we think will make it a little less bureaucratic and things like that. but they're not getting them. you could argue that there are some republicans that are trying to sabotage the law, that they're hoping to not get it off the ground and then they can suddenly make the case, see, we have to get rid of it. and they've got some state governors that are openly trying to sabotage it. look what mcconnell and cornyn did. that was a shakedown. that was a threatening leader by the two leaders of the senate republican committee saying if you help them try to enact this law of the land , be careful, there's going to be political repercussions.

>> they would say -- the republicans would say we're sabotaging a goldberg device that wouldn't work any way. surely there is republican opposition, but this is an incredibly complex law doing a lot of things it probably shouldn't do. we probably shouldn't have employer insurance at all.

>> chuck is right, the nfl thing was really unseemly and i don't think they needed to go there. but what you do have if the states don't participate is that the federal government steps in and creates those marketplaces. that's also going to be an interesting challenge. can the feds show that, a, maybe a national law would have been better in the first place, all these concessions to states' rights were an effort to get it passed.

>> let me bring in congressman raul labrador of idaho, conservative in the house , tea party supported. welcome back. let me have you weigh in on this particular issue. why shouldn't this be seen a different way, which is the obama administration making a real and credible concession to the business community to make sure that this is implemented in a thorough and effective way?

>> well, that's what the obama administration wants you to believe. i think they want you to think that they're listening to the business owners. and i think you can give them a little bit of credit for that. but the question is what part of obama care actually works? because if you look at -- they've already had to concede on other points that obama care is not working. now they have to do it on the employer mandate. and pretty soon i think they're going to have to have some questions about the political mandate. there's nothing about this law working in the united states . all businesses are concerned. it was interesting to listen to senator menendez say that this portion of the law was only going to affect about 1% of the businesses. why is it that democrats of this administration thought that it was necessary for them to create a law that was actually going to affect 1% of the businesses when most businesses with 50 people plus were actually providing insurance to their employees?

>> let me ask you about immigration. president bush , former president bush , is expected to speak out about immigration reform this coming week. he could be a very strong voice within the republican party after the senate has passed immigration reform to put pressure on the house . how will you respond to that? and do you think we're going to get a bill in the end out of the house ?

>> you know, i hope we're going to get a bill. i think immigration reform is necessary. as you know, i have been negotiating on immigration reform now for some time. my concern with the senate bill is that they put the legalization of 11 million people ahead of security. the legalization happens first, and then the security happens second. and i think the american people are not going to stand for that. in fact, if you look at this obama care debacle that they have right now, this administration is actually deciding when and where to actually enforce the law. and that's what some of us in the house are concerned about. if you give to this administration the authority to decide when they're going to enforce the law, how they're going to enforce the law, and you tell them that it's okay if they decide if there's going to be 20,000 troops or if there's -- i mean 20,000 border patrol agents or they get to determine when the border is secure, i can tell you that janet napolitano has already said that the border is secure. so what's going to happen is we're going to give legalization to 11 million and janet napolitano will come to congress and tell us that the border is already secure and nothing else needs to happen.

>> eugene robinson , take this on. you've got john mccain , who just a few years ago is doing campaign ads saying secure this darn border first, who's saying that congressman labrador and anyone who cites insufficient security at the boarder is looking to kill the bill and it's not a credible opposition.

>> if you look at what's been going on at the border , the border is much more secure than it has been in the past. and there are those who argue it will never be -- there will never be an impregnable fortress wall between the united states and mexico. it's 2,000-mile-long border . and what the house republicans seem to be demanding is something that no one can deliver. so what's the point of that? i think -- look, this is -- it seems to me a pretty good compromise from their point of view because they do get 20,000 new border patrol agents and a lot of bells and whistles that weren't there before.

>> and a long path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. it's a pretty arduous process.

>> they are here. i've seen a lot of intellectually weak cases in this town. i've rarely seen one as weak as this. the congressional budget office says they want to reduce it from a third to a half. they want economic growth . top economists say lit do that. they want to reduce the debt. cbo says it will. all the big major objectives republican stand for the senate immigration bill will do. the other things they're talking about are secretary, tertiary issues. compared to the thing this bill does, they're minuscule. that mystified me.

>> congressman, respond to david brooks on that.

>> i'm sorry, but what i just heard was totally ridiculous. if you listen to what the cbo said, they said it's going to be a third and 50% reduction in illegal immigration . that means that every five year wes ear going to have to do another reagan amnesty. what the american people want is a secure border . they understand that there is going to be economic growth . and i agree that there's going to be economic growth when you have immigration reform , that's why i'm a big proponent of immigration reform , but for somebody to sit here on national tv and say it is actually a weak argument for us to argue that we want something like 90% security, i think it's actually beyond the pale . what we need to do is look at one thing. there's two components of the law that we need to change. for example, the i.c.e. agents have told us if they could work with the local community , the local law enforcement agents, they would be much more effective in securing our interior. the democrats do not want any local enforcement of immigration laws . we do it with drug laws . we do it with all ease other things where we have these task forces between the federal and state and local agencies, and the democrats do not want to deal with immigration. we could do that and we could curtail a lot of the illegal immigration . there's a lot of other things we can ekd do to make the law stronger.

>> david, respond to that.

>> the cbo said it would reduce it by a third to 50%, and the congressman won't support it unlessitis 100% because we'd have to do a reagan.

>> that's not what i said. don't put words in my mouth.

>> the current law produces x much illegal immigration . this law cuts it significantly. it's better than the current law. generally when something is better than we have, you want to support it.

>> let me take a quick break and come back and talk about the politics of this impacting the house members, even the senate supporters of this as well. back with our roundtable after this. we're