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CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight-Transcript

Interview

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DOBBS: There is a rising and intense backlash against this so- called grand compromise on amnesty across the country. Joining us now, representing the State of Oklahoma, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican. And joining us tonight from Capitol Hill. Senator Coburn, good to have you here.

SEN. TOM COBURN, (R) OK: Good to -- Thank you.

DOBBS: This has been, as we watch this process, rather in my opinion, ugly. This legislation is, it seems, literally being written on the floor of the Senate.

COBUN: Well, I think any time a piece of legislation comes together so fast and is written so fast, it is going to be full of errors, full of problems and people are just now starting to digest the piece of legislation and we are talking about cutting off amendments and cutting off debate. So it is the worst way to legislate. There should have been more hearings. We have had this as an open process. It should have gone through committee. It did not and coming to the floor to be kind of a boondoggle.

DOBBS: It is a boondoggle but one that is bipartisan, principally on the Republican side. Your colleague Senator Jon Kyl, who opposes comprehensive immigration reform, in last year's iteration. What's the deal?

COBURN: Well, I want to give him a compliment for making an effort. We need to solve the problem both in terms of legal and illegal immigration. So I'm not critical that they are trying to solve it. And they may be giving up some things they believe in to try to fix the problem for the country but as far as legislative process, it is a problem. Our problem is the American people don't trust Congress to handle this and they are not going to until we enforce the law, which means we are going to honor those people who come into this country legally and we are going to enforce the law against those who don't.

And the only way we are going to be able to do that is adequately follow the six laws that are already on the books to secure the border and enforce employment verification here.

DOBBS: Senator, as Congressman Duncan Hunter said in the Republican debates, 854 miles of fence authorized. Six months later the Department of Homeland Security has built 11 miles. It's highly questionable about the quality of the fence that they are building. Is there a sense in the United States Senate that Americans watching this process and admittedly, not even half of the people are paying attention to this legislation according to most polls that I have seen?

Is the Senate just expecting Americans to be such fools that they will eat this up?

COBURN: I'm not even sure they are considering that, Lou. The problem is our process is broken. The only way we have right to govern, even though we are elected, is to establish through integrity that we are going to do what's best for the country in the long term.

And we have such a habit of not doing that on everything else that we are going to be suspect. We do need to solve this problem but the way we are going about solving this problem is not going to build confidence in the American public as to the Congress, and it's going to undermine the credibility of the rule of law.

DOBBS: Senator Coburn, one last question -- do you believe that this legislation will pass the U.S. Senate?

COBURN: I certainly hope not. I do not know the answer to that question.

DOBBS: Senator Tom Coburn, we thank you for being with us. COBURN: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you.

DOBBS: There is a rising and intense backlash against this so- called grand compromise on amnesty across the country. Joining us now, representing the State of Oklahoma, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican. And joining us tonight from Capitol Hill. Senator Coburn, good to have you here.

SEN. TOM COBURN, (R) OK: Good to -- Thank you.

DOBBS: This has been, as we watch this process, rather in my opinion, ugly. This legislation is, it seems, literally being written on the floor of the Senate.

COBUN: Well, I think any time a piece of legislation comes together so fast and is written so fast, it is going to be full of errors, full of problems and people are just now starting to digest the piece of legislation and we are talking about cutting off amendments and cutting off debate. So it is the worst way to legislate. There should have been more hearings. We have had this as an open process. It should have gone through committee. It did not and coming to the floor to be kind of a boondoggle.

DOBBS: It is a boondoggle but one that is bipartisan, principally on the Republican side. Your colleague Senator Jon Kyl, who opposes comprehensive immigration reform, in last year's iteration. What's the deal?

COBURN: Well, I want to give him a compliment for making an effort. We need to solve the problem both in terms of legal and illegal immigration. So I'm not critical that they are trying to solve it. And they may be giving up some things they believe in to try to fix the problem for the country but as far as legislative process, it is a problem. Our problem is the American people don't trust Congress to handle this and they are not going to until we enforce the law, which means we are going to honor those people who come into this country legally and we are going to enforce the law against those who don't.

And the only way we are going to be able to do that is adequately follow the six laws that are already on the books to secure the border and enforce employment verification here.

DOBBS: Senator, as Congressman Duncan Hunter said in the Republican debates, 854 miles of fence authorized. Six months later the Department of Homeland Security has built 11 miles. It's highly questionable about the quality of the fence that they are building. Is there a sense in the United States Senate that Americans watching this process and admittedly, not even half of the people are paying attention to this legislation according to most polls that I have seen?

Is the Senate just expecting Americans to be such fools that they will eat this up?

COBURN: I'm not even sure they are considering that, Lou. The problem is our process is broken. The only way we have right to govern, even though we are elected, is to establish through integrity that we are going to do what's best for the country in the long term.

And we have such a habit of not doing that on everything else that we are going to be suspect. We do need to solve this problem but the way we are going about solving this problem is not going to build confidence in the American public as to the Congress, and it's going to undermine the credibility of the rule of law.

DOBBS: Senator Coburn, one last question -- do you believe that this legislation will pass the U.S. Senate?

COBURN: I certainly hope not. I do not know the answer to that question.

DOBBS: Senator Tom Coburn, we thank you for being with us. COBURN: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you.


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