House GOP demands Obama's immigration plan before elections

Republicans want voters to have a say at the polls


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 24, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, before the voting starts spilling, some House Republicans just firing off a letter to the president demanding he reveal his plan on immigration before the midterm elections. They want Americans to have a say in this mess.

In case you didn't hear, the president is delaying, we are told, until after the midterms a plan that could include granting amnesty to millions of illegals already here.

To House Majority Whip Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, who says voters, that would be you, deserve to know.

Congressman, good to have you.


CAVUTO: We know the president has said he's putting off a decision on this, but we know kind of what that decision is going to be. So what are Republicans doing in the interim?

SCALISE: What we're saying right now is, Mr. President, you said you would be the most transparent president ever. Why don't you tell voters what your plan is on immigration before the election?

Look, if it was a good plan that he was thinking of doing, why would he wait until right after the election? It really raises a lot of red flags and -- and it makes you wonder just how bad is the president's approach going to be on immigration, if he wants to shield it, hide it from the voters until after the election?

Those senators that are up in those tough states like mine in Louisiana, Senator Landrieu ought to be able to be either campaigning for or against this policy. They shouldn't be able to be hiding it from the voters.

CAVUTO: I'm wondering if it's a matter of Democrats and, more to the point, the president, sir, calling Republicans on this and sort of locking you in place, because you guys are so afraid about ticking off Latino voters, you're not going to make a big hay of it. What do you say?

SCALISE: No. In fact, we have made it clear we want to secure the border and we want to get back to an immigration system that works. It used to work when my great-grandparents came here from Italy.

Right now, you have got a president that's not enforcing the laws. We passed a really good border security bill that was bipartisan two months ago. And that says, look, if the president is not going to secure the border, those governors along the border states should be able to call up the National Guard and do so, because it's not only about immigration. This is a national security issue.

You see with ISIL and other terrorist groups they have some of their terrorist group members that have Western passports. You don't want a porous border where anybody can just come across and nobody knows who's coming in.

This is something the president needs to confront. and he shouldn't hide it from the voters. He should be showing it to everybody and saying, this is my plan.

CAVUTO: You know, Congressman, the consensus thinking -- it's always dangerous to say this -- is that Republicans will do very well in the midterms, that they will build their numbers in the House, maybe even take the Senate, but that, whatever happens afterwards, there will be a change in the leadership ranks. Maybe there even should be.

Do you believe that after that, Speaker Boehner will be under pressure to step down, or that members will want to see a different kind of a speaker?

SCALISE: No. I think our members want to see a bold vision to move our country forward.

People -- I think the reason people are expecting us to do well in this election cycle is because they're not happy with the president's policies. If you look at what Barack Obama has done...

CAVUTO: Well, are they happy with Speaker Boehner? Or -- he took them to the dance. He's been with them at the dance, but they want a new partner at the dance.


I think if you look at the last two months, Speaker Boehner has been very receptive to the members of our conference. We got a good border security bill that we wanted. The overwhelming majority of our membership voted for it.

In fact, almost every member of the Republican Conference voted for that border security bill. We sent it to the Senate. The Senate refuses to act. If you look at all of our jobs bills, including the jobs and energy bill we just passed last week with bipartisan votes, these are good, conservative policies that people want.

People want the Keystone pipeline built all across the country. People want smart energy policy. Harry Reid is the one blocking it.

CAVUTO: Right.

SCALISE: That's where you are going to see the change in leadership.


So, I just want to be clear, sir, and I don't mean to be a pest, but if -- you mentioned in the last couple of months that this has happened, indicating prior that maybe it wasn't happening.

Would you ever challenge John Boehner?


In fact, I think if you look at where we are right now, we're succeeding because our leadership team is working well together and listening to our members. Now, that's ultimately what leadership needs to do, is to make sure that we're all focused on the same thing, getting the country back on track, solving real problems in our country.

And that's not only why we're going to grow our numbers in the House. It's why I think we're going to get a majority in the Senate, where we can finally start moving bills to Barack Obama's desk that solve the problems this country is facing.

CAVUTO: You know, you have been largely supportive of the president and his airstrikes in Syria, as have a number of other Republicans.

I'm wondering whether that -- that support wanes or is there a time limit on it if these drag on, as some generals have told me, Congressman, for many, many months. What do you think?

SCALISE: There is a time limit. In fact, the authorization that we passed last week gave the president three months, until December 11, to come up with a plan.

And, frankly, a lot of us on the Republican side want to see a broader vision, not just airstrikes, not just training Syrian rebels that we would have to vet -- and that's an important part of the president's approach that he's going to have to do.

CAVUTO: Would you support troops on the ground? Does that mean you would support boots on the ground?

SCALISE: What I think would be the smart policy is not to tell your enemy what you're not going to do. We shouldn't be telegraphing to our enemy what we will and won't do.

But we ought to say, look, we're going to go destroy ISIL. That's what we're going to do. We're going to destroy Islamic terrorists in the world because they want to come and do us harm. Don't tell them how you're going to do it. Don't tell them what you're not going to do. Just make it clear what is your strategy? Are you going to commit to going and eliminating Islamic terrorists from this earth?

CAVUTO: Steve Scalise, a real pleasure having you. Thank you very much, sir.

SCALISE: Great to be back, Neil.

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