The budget proposed by President Barack Obama shows he is “not really interested in solving the debt and deficit issue,” Sen. Ron Johnson tells Newsmax.
And on immigration reform, the Wisconsin Republican asserts that it is “crazy” to allow the brightest minds to come to an American college and then force them to return to their home countries.
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Johnson, a successful businessman, was elected in 2010, defeating three-term Democrat Russ Feingold. He is a member of the Senate Budget and Foreign Relations committees.
In the exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Johnson discusses the $3.77 trillion budget Obama is sending to Congress.
“The president’s budget is two months late. The House has already passed a budget. Sen. Patty Murray has actually introduced and passed a budget here in the Senate. You have to kind of scratch your head and ask why is the president even bothering,” Johnson says.
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“But that being said, it does lay down a marker, it does show the American people to what extent President Obama’s willing to solve these problems. And if the American people look at his budget they realize he’s not really interested in solving the debt and deficit issue.
“His budget, like the Senate budget, never balances; it actually increases both spending and the deficits in the first year.
“If you really want to take a look at what the budget plan is, don’t look at the 10-year figures, because all President Obama’s deficit reduction occurs in the last five or six years. You have to look at what it does in the first year. His budget increases spending by $160 billion the first year and the deficit by $128 billion over the [Congressional Budget Office] baseline.
“That really shows the direction of his budget. It’s for increased spending and for increased debt and deficit.”
Asked if he is at least optimistic that the president is making overtures to the Republicans, Johnson responds: “Sure, it’s a good step in the right direction. It’s probably a good-faith effort. But of course it’s going to be held hostage basically by his insistence on another $1 trillion in tax increases.
“If you want to talk about the ratio of spending to taxes, in this case it’s $10 of tax increase for basically $1 or $1.30 in spending reduction — not exactly a grand bargain or anything that Republicans will be willing to support,” he says.
As for whether a budget will in fact be passed in Congress, Johnson says: “A number of things could happen here. First, do I believe the House and Senate budgets will be reconciled to one unified budget resolution? I doubt it, although Sen. Patty Murray and Paul Ryan are in talks discussing that, which is a good sign.
“Now that both chambers have passed a budget, it at least directs the committees in their particular chambers to start doing their work. We actually have a supercommittee in the United States: It’s called Congress. So we should start doing our work out in the open and utilizing the committee process.
“What we certainly could see is both the House and hopefully the Senate — although the Senate’s been very derelict in its duty — actually passing appropriation bills, then those appropriation bills, if passed in the House and Senate, can be reconciled,” he said.
“I do feel a sense here in Congress now that the elections are over, maybe it’s time to govern,” Johnson says. “President Obama is reaching out, he’s meeting with people. It’s kind of a necessary first step. I certainly appreciate that attempt, but I will believe that President Obama is serious about solving these problems when he starts describing the depth of the problem.
“I’ve done a lot of problem-solving in my life. The first step is, you have to admit you have a problem, and too many Democrats still say we don’t have a spending problem. That’s a problem.
“So the first act of bipartisanship really needs to be to sit down, define the problem, and then go to the American people together and really lay out honestly the truth of our fiscal situation, and we have to start preparing the American public for the solution.”
Turning to immigration reform, Johnson tells Newsmax: “There’s a real possibility for immigration reform because people are starting to understand that if we do nothing — and a lot of people do not like this term — it is basically de facto amnesty.
“We have a broken legal immigration system that needs to be fixed. We need to secure the borders. I’m encouraging senators to continue to talk to each other but my own preference would be to see the House take up the components of immigration reform.
“I really don’t like the word comprehensive — each one of these problems is enormous in and of itself. We need a guest worker program. We need employers to be able to verify that people are properly documented. We need some sort of e-verify system,” Johnson adds.
“I’d rather see a border security law passed. Rather than negotiate over how we’re going to certify that this border is secure, let’s actually pass a border security law. If we have to build more fencing, let’s specify where it has to be built and how many miles.
“If we need more boots on the ground, let’s specify how many more boots on the ground and how we’re going to recruit those individuals, how much that’s going to cost. Once we have those things in place, once we’ve secured the border, then we talk about the path for potential citizenship,” Johnson continues to Newsmax.
“Marco Rubio talks about the 16-year-old girl that has a full-ride scholarship to Dartmouth in one hand and deportation papers in the other. We’re not going to deport individuals like that. We need to come to the realization that that’s the case and move on past this debate because we are in a land of immigrants, but we should be a land of legal immigration.
“It’s crazy that our universities train the smartest people in the world and then we make them go back to their country of origin. If you’re going to have an effective economy, a growing economy, you want the brightest minds in the world contributing to our economy — not China’s and not India’s.”
See more of Ron Johnson's exclusive interview with Newsmax below.
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