Ross Kaminsky Show, Cory Gardner, January 23, 2018

Station: KHOW, 630 AM

Show:     Ross Kaminsky Show

Guests:  Gardner, Cory


Date:      January 23, 2018

Topics:  Government shutdown, Mitch McConnell, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, Temporary Protected Status, TPS, DREAMers, Continuing Resolution, CR,

Click Here for Audio

HOST ROSS KAMINSKY:: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show!

U.S. SENATOR FROM COLORADO, CORY GARDNER:: [00:00:01] Good morning, Ross! Thanks for having me.

KAMINSKY:: [00:00:02] Glad to. Big transition at top tier, following yesterday’s vote by the Senate to reopen the government and then it went to the House and the president signed it. What are we looking at here as a way forward, and particularly on the immigration debate that you’ve been quite involved with?

GARDNER:: [00:00:23] Well, what’s interesting, Ross, is we’re sitting here on Tuesday after having gone through a three day government shutdown, basically under the same agreement that was rejected on Friday night. When it was clear that Senator Schumer wanted to shut the government down and he wasn’t going to provide the votes to do that, he was offered a three week continuing resolution with an agreement to shift to a[n] immigration debate on DACA. This is what to do with children who came here at a very young age, through no fault of their own. And that was rejected. And I think they got into the weekend, they realized that shutting down the government — you know, hurting veterans, hurting active duty military, hurting CDC flu programs, imperiling vital federal research, you know, all of the collateral damage that that could create — actually took people further apart instead of bringing people closer together, making it more difficult to find a solution. And so they agreed to that yesterday. The government reopened. And now we have [un]till February 8th to get a number of things done, including agreement on funding of the federal government for the year, the budget caps that need to get done, along with defense spending. And then if that is all accomplished, I think Senator McConnell has said that he will do what he said he do Friday night, and that’s turn to a debate on the DACA issue.

KAMINSKY:: [00:01:41] So, you’re kind of making it sound like the DACA issue will only come up in the Senate if a whole bunch of other stuff — that isn’t necessarily easy stuff — gets done first. And if I’m hearing you right, then if that other stuff takes a long time and we start getting near the end of this C.R. period and there isn’t progress on DACA, you know, then what are the Democrats going to do?

GARDNER:: [00:02:06] Well, I think that’s exactly the way Senator McConnell laid it out last night. I think what he said was, “Fund the government get it going, and then we’ll turn to immigration issues dealing and relating to DREAMers, DACA.” So, I think that’s what he has said, you know. And it needs to be done because quite frankly, if you don’t do that then you end up in the same situation we are, with another shutdown. And that’s simply unacceptable, too. So I think the promise was made to get that done to — you know, if people agreed to get that done, then just shift to this immigration debate. And I think it’s important that we do, because this needs to be addressed. This problem and challenge we face is not going away. We have to come up with a solution that the President can support.

KAMINSKY: : [00:02:46] So, tell me if you think I’m analyzing this wrong. And I don’t know if you had a chance to read the article I recently wrote about this. But it seems to me that this is the first time in a long time that Republicans can actually kind of take the lead on immigration reform and get not only a better deal than would have been had under Obama but also, you know, better PR. And I mean that in a really long term sense, to do something in a way that would actually allow more of these DREAMers and their kids and their family members to say, “You know what? Republicans don’t hate us.”

GARDNER:: [00:03:20] I think this is a completely –. What you have described, I think, is very accurate. And then we have to recognize that many of the people that we’re talking about here — many of these people within the DACA age group — these are people who were brought here as children, who know no other country but this one, who speak no other language but this one. And you know, I think the challenge is that we don’t charge our kids for not buckling up on their seatbelt, if the parent doesn’t do that. That’s on the parent, right? We don’t charge our kids for a felony trespass if they go across the neighbor’s lawn. We don’t do that in this country. And so, that’s why this is a unique opportunity for us to build trust with the American people, to do something right, to get border security that has now been included as a baseline part of the deal, and move forward to show that we can still accomplish and solve big challenges.

KAMINSKY:: [00:04:22] Our special guest is Senator Cory Gardner, who also heads up the NRSC, so he has the additional responsibility — in addition of representing Colorado in the Senate — of working to get Republicans elected to the Senate across the country. And with that in mind, Cory, I want to ask you how you see the difference between how these politics might play out in the Senate, where I think an acceptable — I might call it ‘bipartisan’ or ‘moderate’ bill — I think has a quite good chance in the Senate. I’m a little more concerned about the House. How do you see the process here between the two? And how do you see immigration politics playing for Republicans in the 2018 elections?

GARDNER:: [00:05:06] Well, this morning I’ve got a meeting coming up on the issue with a bipartisan group, and I think what’s important to remember, Ross, is exactly what you said. And that’s that our goal isn’t just to pass a bill out of the Senate and then be done with it and pat ourselves on the back and go home. The goal is to pass a bill that can be supported in the House of Representatives by the majority. And that that means that we can’t just pass anything. We’ve got to actually keep in mind how we can pass a bill that works in the House, and then that the President can sign. The President has been very clear, the four things that he laid out, what he wants to address. We have to meet those goals in a way that allows him to support it, to sign it. And that’s important. So, how does this play out? I mean, I think that we buckle down, we work with the White House, we work with our colleagues, and put a bill forward that is going to draw that kind of support.

KAMINSKY:: [00:05:59] So let me ask you a slightly personal but still political question. When that thing came to Donald Trump — what? a week ago Thursday, that ended up with all this stuff floating around it, this bipartisan plan — I think you are a little bit involved in putting that together. Those were the news reports. And you know, the usual suspects on the right — like, way to the right of me — they say, you know, come out with, “Cory is a rhino!” And it’s not just you, [it’s] all the Republicans, anybody wants to have a moderate conversation about immigration. How do you how do you handle that?

GARDNER:: [00:06:32] Well, we’ve got to — I hope that people will cut through the chatter on the Web sites that are trying to be more propaganda than actually factual and know that we put a deal forward that addressed chain migration, particularly how it related to parents — parents of a DACA child — and the how it would affect border security. We gave the President billions of dollars in border dollars that he had requested. We ended the visa diversity lottery. And then, of course, we addressed the DREAMer DACA population. Now, we did all those things, and some people say we didn’t. But you know what? We knew it wouldn’t be perfect right away. We knew that it would take time to figure out how to negotiate and get it right. My goal isn’t to have just six people support a bill. The goal has to be to get the — like I said — the support of the Senate, the House, and the President. So, we’ve got a long ways to go and you know when we put it forward in good faith to try to meet those four objectives, and we’ve got more work to do. And I’ll continue to do that.

KAMINSKY:: [00:07:34] One part of this that’s been coming up a lot lately — which didn’t come up all that much before — was this idea of Temporary Protected Status, and people here from Haiti and El Salvador and one or two other places who were supposed to be here temporarily for a year or two following natural disasters in their countries. And one administration after another let them stay legally. Now, you know, 10 years, 15 years, and so there’s conversation about what should happen with them. You addressed it a little bit in the bill, or in the proposal. But separate from that proposal, what do you personally think should happen? We have got about 1 minute left.

GARDNER:: [00:08:07] Yeah, what do I think should happen? I mean, we’re going to have to have very very serious deliberations over how to get the President the Border Security dollars that he has requested and that quite frankly, we’ve got to have in this country as part of this debate. And we’ve got to make sure that that’s real, not just sort of fake dollars. We have to make sure that we address the DREAMer population, and that’s this group that is going to take a lot of work to figure out where people can be, to get the support we need. And you do those two things, we’ve made a significant difference. And then if you address the issue — as the President says — chain migration, to have more broader immigration reform, then again I think we’re starting to build trust with the American people, that we can actually solve big problems. Now, what I worry about, Ross, is if this gets screwed up, if something doesn’t happen now, then this problem that we have right now with the broken immigration system simply continues. And then we continue to point fingers at each other.

KAMINSKY:: [00:09:01] Yeah, look. I agree. I think the Republicans have no choice but to do something here. And as I as I wrote recently, I think a path to citizenship for DREAMers is inevitable. And Republicans should do it while they can get a lot for it, rather than later on when they get nothing for it. And I hope that that’s the road that you will help lead the Senate down, Cory.

GARDNER:: [00:09:22] Well, I think there’s a number of people — Tom Cotton, David Perdue — who support that, and others. And I think they’ll be looking at this effort to have this get passed.

KAMINSKY:: [00:09:32] Cory Gardner, Republican Senator from the great state of Colorado and the head of the NRSC. Thanks for your time this morning, Cory!