Meet the Press   |  July 14, 2013

2: Panel examines dysfunction in Washington

A Meet the Press roundtable discusses the difficulties facing lawmakers and how congressional partisanship will impact key pieces of legislation like the immigration overhaul.

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

>>> and we are back. joining me now, former governor of mexico, bill richardson , president of the center for american progress , neera tanden, editor of national review , rich lowry , president and founder of the national action network , host of msnbc's "politics nation," reverend al sharpton and republican strategist steve schmidt . welcome to all of you. wow so, much to get to. steve schmidt , washington dysfunction. again, you can talk about the rule change and the minutia. it's about whether the minority candidate wants to block what the majority wants to do. what are we seeing here?

>> that's right. one of the fascinating aspects of it is the fact that when leader mcconnell was in the majority of course his view was completely different, as was leader reid's. these are complicated issues. the dysfunction you saw play out this morning is why the senate, why the congress has such a low approval rating with the american people who view this as an institution almost completely removed from dealing with anything that's relevant to their actual lives.

>> neera tanden, mcconnell making a point and saying what are they so upset about? the president's gotten most of what he's wanted. these are particular nominations that legally we have a right to challenge. we also know it's ideological as well.

>> yeah. no. i think what people are concerned about is there are a number of agencies, not just the ones that mitch mcconnell , senator mcconnell was talking about, it's epa, it is cpfb, consumer financial protection board, but it's tallas department of labor , it's also -- it's a range -- nlrb -- a range of agencies that actually protect consumers against large special interests . and i think the issue here is really that the congress is really unpopular because it's not dealing with the country's problems, and i think people really want a functioning senate.

>> and if it can't function, even though it passed immigration reform , we see another area where we get nothing done. and i get to the issue of immigration, rich lowry , which, as i referenced to senator reid, you and bill krystal, prominent conservatives, said kill this bill spp it going to be killed in the house? will it die a slow death? will they do nothing?

>> it's definitely in trouble in the house. i wouldn't say it's dead because there are still powerful interests in the republican party who want this thing to happen.

>> former president bush didn't approve the particularities of it, but he certainly wants something done.

>> sure. but i think the senate bill is fundamentally flawed. if you believe the cbo analysis and believe their optimistic assumptions that the enforcements of this bill actually happened the way it's written, which never happens, we're still going to have, depending on estimates, 6 million, 7 million, 8 million more plants here in ten years. that means this bill fails on its own terms, it fails on the terms marco rubio sate seth out on it. he said i don't want to have to deal with this problem again. he will if his own bill passes. i think the house should pass incremental measures and if the senate wants to take them up, great, bipartisan consensus. if not, wait.

>> the western border governor formerly, how do you respond?

>> i think the bill is in trouble, and i regret it because i think the true conservative position on immigration reform , here's legislation that improves the gross domestic product . it reduces the deficit. it creates jobs, more social security rules. it's a path to legalization that takes 13 years. there's a lot of steps that need to be taken. employer sanctions. i was a border governor. illegal immigration has gone down. it's gone down. the border fence that has been created is not going to do much, but if it gets some republican votes, it makes sense. my view is the congress is totally dysfunctional. it's not just immigration pipt's the farm bill . it's nominations. it's the national labor relations board , consumer bills. farm bill , an example, no food stamps for poor people . what we have is subsidies for the big farmers. i hope there's a filibuster change. i think the nuclear option needs to be exercised. i don't go anymore, even though i served 15 years in the house, for this we're going to sit on monday and discuss senate traditions and hope nothing happens. i think the american people want change and a real change could happen if there's filibuster reform. there can be a stoppage to some of these huge blockages of major legislation.

>> on immigration, according to the cbo unemployment will be higher when this bill passes between 2014 and 2020 .

>> no. no.

>> look it up. wages will be lower until 2024 . read the cbo .

>> but there's an increase of jobs of 122,000. for someone who's advocated so strongly for deficit reduction when it's a democratic president and you're attacking him for not doing enough, here we have $800 billion of deficit reduction, and here you're saying, no, we can't take it. it doesn't make any sense.

>> can i get steve schmidt on this? beyond this particular issue is rich's other point, which is you're going to have to come back and deal with the fact you've got a significant number of illegal immigrants still here. you will have to address this again. is that what's motivating conservatives, steve , or is it pure politics not wanting new democratic voters in their view coming into the country ?

>> look, i think the bill is in trouble. i do think that is part of the motivation for conservatives, the notion that it doesn't fix the security problems on the border. but what we have today is a de facto amnesty in this country. we've had it far long time. we have an utterly broken, completely uncompetitive immigration system , and the senate bill does a lot to move this country towards a sane immigration policy . what the house should do is pass a version of this legislation that could be conferenced together and the country can take a step forward in fixing this problem, which is an enormous one. we have a permanent underclass that lives in the shadows in this country, and we ought to fix it. and what this has always been premised on is the notion that there is a path to legalization and then there is a final at the end of the day solution for the border security issue, that we are able to secure the border. and this bill does, in fact, make great progress in the securing of the border.

>> reverend al, your comments.

>> i think that we can have different opinions. we can't have different facts. i think clearly it reduces the deficit, this bill. i think that clearly it creates jobs. and i think that it is very conservative for many of us that have been in the immigration movement and have said let's be fair. i don't know how more fair you can be to take 13 years to make people natural citizens. the dysfunction of this congress around this and around blocking appointments and taking food stamps out of the farm bill , i mean, it's any wond they're the public has any kind of respect for them at all.

>> final point on this, rich, before a break.

>> look, the structure of this bill was exactly the same in 1986 when we're told all the same thing, amnesty first and all this great enforcement off in the future. it never happened. and if you want to cut the deficit, there are other ways to do it and the cbo says there's no deficit reduction the first ten years and unemployment will be elevated until 2020 . look it up, governor.

>> -- respected conservative, but --

>> thank you very much. i feel something bad is coming after that, though.

>> the tea party , there is a political side to this. here's the utmost politician. the republican party is going to become a minority party . maybe all those tea party republicans in the house will keep their seats. but you're going to continue to lose presidential elections. you're going to lose the hispanic voter even more than you did in the last election. and it's political suicide what you're doing.

>> what happened after 1986 that reagan signed? did the republican share of the latino vote go up?

>> it did.

>> it didn't. h.w. went down. h.w. went down.

>> george went up.

>> -- amnesty --

>> issues change, and this is a gateway voter. this is a gateway issue for latino voters.

>> let me get a break in here. we'll come back and talk a little more about the political reaction to the zimmerman verdict and a couple other