Republican Leader Discusses Immigration, Iraq
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Face the Nation' this morning. The following are excerpts from the program:
On the immigration bill before the Senate:
"Well, it's a mixed picture. There are good things in the bill, and not so good things in the bill. For example, the most controversial part is the Z-Visa which critics of the bill believe amounts to amnesty. I'm among those who voted to get rid of that portion, but that amendment failed. So that's a disappointment to many in my party.
"There are other provisions that I think are quite good like getting rid of the lottery. You know, right now, with 50,000 people can come into the United States and get a green card, simply by having their name pulled out of a hat. We also get rid of what's called chain migration which gives somebody's second cousin, some American citizen's second cousin somewhere in the world just as much access to the United States as the next Albert Einstein. That's ridiculous. That's gotten rid of. We also have a funding source in there for border security which everybody feels very strongly about. So, it is a mixed picture. When we get to final passage, Bob, it's hard to know if the votes will be there to pass it or not."
"I think we'll finish Senate consideration of the immigration bill, one way or the other, before the Fourth of July."
On Iraq and the Petraeus/Crocker report coming in September:
"I think most members of my conference in the Senate, Bob, believe the critical point to evaluate where we are is in September. That's when the big Petraeus/Crocker report is supposed to be presented. That's -- we have all been to one degree or another disappointed in the Iraqi government. They have not been able to do on the political side what they told us they would try to achieve. But I think that the proper time to really make a serious evaluation of the direction we ought to head is in September."
" the surge is going to come to an end, obviously. The buildup in troops is now complete. It will obviously go on over the summer. I think everyone anticipates it's going to be a new strategy in the Fall. I don't think we'll have the same level of troops, in all likelihood, that we have now. The Iraqis will have to step up, not only on the political side, but on the military side to a greater extent. We're not there forever. I think they understand that, and the time to properly evaluate that, it strikes me, is in September."
"The Iraq Study Group proposal gives you an outline of a possible direction the President could take this Fall. He has spoken favorably about it himself. I think predicting what's going to happen in the Fall is something I'm not prepared to do here in June.