U.S. Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, spent much of the day in Cache Valley Tuesday visiting voters, participating in radio interviews and appearing at a town hall meeting in Logan. Sen. Lee said he is working to reform the Republican party with true conservatism.
“A lot of what we have to do in government, those of us who serve in Washington, involves talking about things that we don’t like, things that we are against,” Sen. Lee explained. “I have tried to merge that with things that I am for, by outlining the things that I think should be a part of what our government does, what it should do well and what it could do better.
“My Conservative reform agenda has as its focus improvements in government, incremental changes that I think most Republicans, nearly all Conservatives and even many Democrats and Liberals could support in some instances that would help make the lives of Americans better.”
The issue of immigration reform came up at least twice on Tuesday–at a Mount Logan Middle School Town Hall meeting and on <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/324/2014_08_20_324_25168_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s For the People program</a>. On that program, Sen. Lee said immigration is an important and pressing issue, but he said we can’t expect to get all we want in one bi-partisan bill.
“I think the best way we can approach the situation on the border and our need for immigration reform–which is significant, which is pronounced–any approach we take in that area needs to focus on incremental, step-by-step processes,” Sen. Lee said. “I was one of the first people in the last Congress, the 112th Congress, to introduce bi-partisan legislation that was narrowly targeted on dairy farmers and sheep ranchers.
“It was a called the DASH Act. It was a very simple, narrow, surgical solution to a simple problem. We need a lot more than just something like the DASH Act to pass.”
Sen. Lee said Congress needs to pass a lot of things to make it work, but done in the proper way.
“If we take the approach, as Congress has tried to take in this Congress, that somehow it’s a good idea to say ‘unless we can get everything that we want in one bill, fix the entire immigration system in one fail swoop or we won’t pass anything.’ That’s usually not a key to meaningful bi-partisanship to pass today’s House and today’s Senate.
“I think you could get most of what advocates of immigration reform want, including me, but it has to be in the proper sequence.”
The Republican said once those things are in place we will be able to treat those people already here illegally with dignity and respect. But he said if we try to do it all at once it will not pass politically and will not solve the underlying problems.
The polls show that President Obama’s popularity is falling but you hear much less about the unpopularity of Congress. Polls show that when it comes to popularity, Congress gets an eight or nine percent rating.
Sen. Lee said he believes the reason behind such poor ratings is longevity.
“A lot of the problems in Washington stem from the fact that, more than Republican vs Conservative ideology, more than Liberal vs Democratic ideology,” Sen. Lee explained, “a lot of the power in Washington focuses on perpetuation, longevity in office. Perpetual power, that’s what causes a lot of problems.”
Sen. Lee said that a new reform agenda will hopefully go a long way towards improving that. He said legislation should be focused not on helping elected officials stay in office but looking for solutions that will help the most vulnerable among us and help the middle class prosper.