Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) appeared live on Face the Nation on CBS yesterday morning to discuss the latest news regarding immigration reform and House action to fund and reform federal agriculture policy and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Rep. Kelly on immigration reform:
"Where I'm from, people still worry about border security, and they say, "Listen, we were promised before, in 1986, that we would have border security, everything would be taken care of.' At that time, I think there was 3.5 million undocumented immigrants here; now, they say 11 ½ to 12 million. And we say you look back in history, and the old saying is, those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. So is there a path to citizenship? I think there is. But I think our plan is about breaking it into separate pieces, having a really thoughtful and a healthy debate about it, and then doing something that makes sense for the American people. If we can't do that, then shame on us."
"Now, back home, I don't have people asking me about that every day, until I ask them -- I say, "What's the most important thing about immigration?' They say, "Oh, my goodness, our borders are too open; we have too many people coming in.' So I think the first part we need to deal with is border security."
"There's a way to get there, but I think that way is decided after we have a very thoughtful discussion, everybody has a chance to weigh in. The speaker has been very adamant that everybody will have a voice at the table."
"I think it's important for the American people to understand, especially after last couple months, you've got to be able to trust the people that you sent to Washington to represent you. But they also have to be thoughtful and they have to do something that makes sense for every American."
"Some of my constituents don't want [immigration reform] at all; some of my constituents don't care about it at all, but at the end of the day... It's critically important to the country, from an economic standpoint, that we get this situation handled."
On reforming federal farm and food stamp policy:
"We tried to put the bigger piece [the initial FAARM Act] through We couldn't get enough agreement on either side. So Mr. Cantor said, "Why don't we break it in two pieces? Let's address the ag[riculture] piece first, and then we'll do the SNAP program, the nutritional piece second.' It made sense to me because we couldn't get agreement on how we should do it."
"I'm not a politician; I'm an automobile dealer. And my whole life has been based on sitting down across the table from somebody who actually wanted to get something done and then compromising."
"One in six Americans, right now, are on [food stamps]. Now, either the economy is not growing at the rate it should or this program is so badly flawed that we're letting too many people in. The sustainability of this is what concerns me. You can't keep promising things to people that, in the future, you know you can't sustain. I think it's unfair and I think it's un-American to do that."
On whether funding for SNAP will pass the House:
"Absolutely. I have never talked to one person that says we don't want to take care of the most vulnerable, we don't want to take care of those people who need it the most. But I have talked to people that said the system's broken. And when we look at what's going on, we're wasting billions of dollars on a program that doesn't seem to be lifting people out of poverty but keeping them in a state of poverty. That's not right. That's not American. That's not the way we worked in the past. And that's not what our future should hold for us. It should be one of blue skies and strong winds at our back and a nation that has everything that God could possibly provide for us here -- we have tillable soil and potable water. As far as providing food for people, my goodness, we shouldn't be vulnerable in this country any place."