Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones gave qualified support Sunday to liberal-backed issues like continued protections for young illegal immigrants and not using taxpayer money for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, but suggested he wants to wait until being sworn in next month before taking on such “complicated” issues.
“Immigration is one of the toughest political footballs in the Senate,” Jones, a Democrat, told “Fox News Sunday.” “If there is comprehensive immigration, it will be complicated. But I will love to take a look at it.”
Jones on Tuesday narrowly won the Republican-held seat left open when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general, despite President Trump warning conservative-leaning Alabama voters that Jones, if elected, would be a “puppet” for the liberal agenda of Congress’ top Democrats: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Calif.
Despite saying comprehensive immigration reform is complicated, Jones said he supports the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump is ending in March, and that he “hopes to see it extended.”
Trump earlier this month canceled a White House meeting with Pelosi and Schumer about end-of-year legislation, suggesting they had predetermined that extending so-called “DACA” protections had to be included.
Jones, a former federal prosecutor in Alabama, said Sunday that Trump called to congratulate him on his victory over Republican Roy Moore, whom Trump backed and whose campaign was derailed by allegations of past sexual misconduct.
“You say a lot of things during the heat of the campaign,” Jones said. “His call to me was very good. I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
“There is always the opportunity to find common ground,” Jones also said. “I hope it’s a message to Democrats and Republicans to find common ground.”
He declined to say how he would vote on the GOP-controlled Congress’ tax-reform plan, if Republicans waited until after he was seated in early January to cast a final vote.
“It’ a 500-page bill that just landed on people’s desks just the other day,” Jones said, with the final Capitol Hill votes expected this week. “So I haven’t had a real chance to look at that and study it. … That’s one of my biggest concerns about how things are going up there.”
Jones said he likes some aspects of the $1.46 trillion bill, including corporate and middle-class tax cuts.
" . . . I’ll leave all of the options on the table.”
“But my biggest concern is the process and that it’s going to increase the deficit by over a trillion dollars,” he said. “I don’t buy into the fact it will help grow the economy.”
Jones also suggested that Moore should stop disputing the outcome of the race.
“I think it’s time to move on,” Jones said. “I think he’s hurting the people of Alabama.”
Jones said he’s already made clear that he opposes building a wall because “I don’t think that’s an expense taxpayers should have to incur.”
However, he declined to say whether he’d vote to fund the wall in exchange for extending DACA protections.
“Let’s see how that shakes out,” he said. “It’s hard to talk in hypotheticals. … I’ll leave all of the options on the table.”