While House Republicans have rejected the all-encompassing Senate immigration bill in favor of a series of smaller bills, Rep. Louie Gohmert insists to Newsmax TV that his colleagues are not attempting to duck the controversial issue.
"We desperately need immigration reform, but 80-plus percent of the American public believes — even 60 plus percent of Hispanic adults believe — that we have got to secure the border before we do anything else, and that's exactly what we believe needs to be done," said Gohmert, who was one of three Republicans who pressed for Wednesday's special conference on immigration.
"The trouble is we have a president who has made clear he just disregards duly passed laws that he doesn't like, or disagrees with, and we've heard him say too many times, 'Well gee, if Congress doesn't do something then I will,'" said the Texas lawmaker in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
He dismissed such threats by the president.
"A president doesn't have authority to ignore laws he disagrees with," observed Gohmert. "We saw it here again just in the last week with the president saying, 'Eh, we're just going to disregard that part of the Obamacare law that I pushed into law without any Republican support and we're just going to disregard it for a year or so.'"
He said that President Barack Obama could have ignored the Senate's immigration legislation in the same way.
"We have created a very porous border and until we secure the border, we should not do a thing because we cannot trust this president," said Gohmert. "So we all agree we want different immigration bills passed. We want reforms done. But because that is the most important step, it should not be part of a big bill that said, 'Well, OK, we'll give legal status and we'll make sure within a certain amount of time that security occurs.' It will not occur. He can waive that. He's done that."
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Gohmert said that House Republicans fear what could happen if they agree to legislation before there is a plan to secure the borders.
"Many of us have the concern that it will go to conference and then there will be a bill that grants status that is not appropriate at this point," he asserted. "It can never be undone once it's done — regardless of what the law says. ... That's why we say, 'You secure the border, we'll get the bill done after that.'"
Gohmert said he doesn't necessarily buy into the argument that the GOP risks losing Hispanic voters permanently if it doesn't act quickly on immigration reform.
"It is a concern only to the extent that the mainstream media blows it up as such," he said. "You're going to see more and more people coming our way as they realize we want the best for them. We don't want to subjugate them as dependent on the federal government. We want them to reach their full God-given potential."
On Thursday the House narrowly passed a farm bill after dropping the $80 billion annual food stamp program from the measure. Obama has promised to veto any farm bill that does not contain food stamps.
But Gohmert believes food stamps belong in a bill dedicated specifically to such assistance.
"The only way to really correct the welfare state — to get rid of the waste, fraud, and abuse, get rid of the tens of thousands of dollars we're already heaping on people before they're even born now — is to get every bit of welfare, every bit of public assistance into one place," he said.
"Today was a big day because ... people said it couldn't be done; you'd never be able to separate food stamps and [agriculture], even though food stamps are 75 percent of that budget," he explained. "The only way we'll ever truly reform the farm bill is for it to be standing alone by itself. The only way we'll truly reform all of the entitlements — all of the welfare state — is to put it all together."
With respect to Obamacare, Gohmert said the best medicine for the president's signature healthcare law may be to do nothing at all and allow the system to collapse.
"If we start trying to put Band-Aids and patches and extensions here and there, this thing that's going to bring about the worst healthcare we've had in 30 years is going to be in there for decades to come and we will end up like England, where — like for breast cancer, you have 19, 20 percent lower survival rate because of their healthcare system — and that's what people are ascribing to here," he said.
"I want to have the highest survivability rate for every cancer. And the best way to do that is to make little reforms," he said. "But it isn't Obamacare."
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