This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," March 1, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
We have the results of the CPAC straw poll and an exclusive interview with the hot property in the Republican presidential race, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
WALLACE: You shot to the top of the polls in Iowa. You're near the top nationally. How do you explain that?
We ask him about comparing union protesters to ISIS, and whether he's changed some of his positions.
Question: isn't that amnesty?
Governor Scott Walker, it's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Then, and 11th hour vote funds the Department of Homeland Security for one more week. But the standoff continues.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., MINORITY LEADER: I'm just saying to the speaker, get a grip. Get a grip, Mr. Speaker.
WALLACE: Can the Republican-led Congress overcome its early fumbles?
We'll ask the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Plus, with some Democrats boycotting Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress, has support for Israel become a political football?
Our Sunday group weighs in.
And our power player of the week, the people's diva. Opera singer Renee Fleming puts me to the test.
RENEE FLEMING, OPERA SINGER: So, I would teach you how to enhance that, how to increase the range. Hello, Renee.
WALLACE: Hello, Renee --
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington. We begin with some breaking news.
The top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination spoke to the conservative political action conference or CPAC this week. Afterwards, they held a straw poll.
And here are the results: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won for the third-consecutive year, with almost 26 percent of the vote. But the big story now is the straw poll's runner up, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In the key state of Iowa, he leads all potential candidates by double digit. Ad he's also moved into the lead in national poll.
I went to CPAC Friday to talk to Walker with his rise, some controversies and his record as governor.
WALLACE: Governor Walker, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Good to be with you.
WALLACE: You've shot to the top of the polls in Iowa. You're near the top nationally.
How do you explain that?
WALKER: Well, I think a lot of people admire what we did in Wisconsin, where we were just fighting for the taxpayers, when we were winning for the taxpayers. I think after Iowa, people who maybe admired it but didn't know whether we could run a campaign should we get in to win said, you know, this guy can win.
WALLACE: You're big appeal, and you could see it here at CPAC, is the fact that you took on and beat the public worker unions in Wisconsin. But this week, you seemed to compare that to taking on ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: If I could take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, isn't there a big difference between protesters and terrorists?
WALKER: There is, absolutely. And I -- I made that clear. And I want to make it clear right now. I'm not comparing those two entities.
What I meant was, it was about leadership. The leadership we provided under extremely difficult circumstances, arguably, the most difficult of any governor in the country, and maybe in -- in recent times, in taking on the challenge of not just the protesters, but everything we had to do the last four years in stepping up and fighting the leadership to move our state forward.
To me, I apply that to saying if I were to run and if I were to win and be commander-in-chief, I believe that kind of leadership is what's necessary to take on radical Islamic terrorism.
WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about leadership. You're president of the United States right now.
Would you commit U.S. ground forces to combat ISIS in any way, shape or form?
WALKER: I believe we should not take any action off the table. I don't want to run into the war. I've got a bunch of bracelets on my wrist, these Gold Star families, people who've given them to me at the funerals of their sons. And certainly I'm not eager to go do another one of those -- those funerals in the future.
But by the same token, I don't want any of these men or any other men and women like them to have died in vain. I think when we look at that and say there's radical Islamic terrorism, it's like a virus, we needed to be prepared to do what it takes to make sure it doesn't spread.
WALLACE: You say you wouldn't take anything off the table. That doesn't quite answer my question.
WALLACE: You're president today. You talk about leadership.
Would you commit U.S. ground forces, whether it's a full-scale invasion, whether it's Special Forces? Would you commit U.S. ground forces to a combat role?
WALKER: For me to do something like that would require a number of things.
Listening to the chain of command, particularly the Joint Chiefs, your national security advisers and others, as to what's necessary and listening to the people who are actually out in the field is the best way to do that.
But then also bring together a coalition. Certainly, reaffirming our major asset, our major ally in the region, that being Israel, but also our other allies around the world.
We were just with David Cameron, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, a few weeks ago. I think increasingly, the Saudis and the Turks. There is a way we could put together a global coalition to take this on.
WALLACE: You have taken some heat recently, I do have to tell you, for refusing to say whether or not President Obama loves this country and whether or not he's a Christian. And the conventional wisdom is either you're pandering to the Obama haters or you're not ready for prime time.
Which is it?
WALKER: The answer is neither. I am not going to take a manufactured media crisis and take and follow that path instead of going to the path that I think Americans want, which is leaders who will stand up and tell them where they stand on the issues that matter to them and talk about how you're going to ensure that that family that's been out of work for the last six months can find a way to be a part of this recovery, talk about how we're going to take the power out of Washington and put it in the hands of the hardworking taxpayers.
Those are the things people care about. And as I, after last week's visits to Wisconsin and to Michigan, when I heard from people talk about what happened in Washington, they said you need to push back and say that's what the American people want to talk about, not this nonsense.
WALLACE: I agree with you, the question about whether or not Obama is a Christian was nonsense, was stupid. On the other hand, the question about whether or not he loves the country, Rudy Giuliani said that at a dinner for you. It seems to me, it's fair game to say to you after the dinner, what do you think of it?
Marco Rubio, one of your potential contenders, said I don't think there's any doubt he loves the country. I just think his policies are wrong.
Isn't that a better, smarter way to handle that?
But let's be clear on the point with the mayor. The mayor wasn't speaking on my behalf. He happened to show up half-way through an event that we had that night and he can speak on his own. That's what I've said repeatedly since that time, as the president can. I don't question that.
I think any person who's going to put their name on the ballot has to have a love for their country and their state and their jurisdiction no matter where they were. So, I -- I don't contest that against anyone who's running for office out there.
My point wasn't to get in the middle of that, but rather to say I want to lift the debate up, to talk about issues that people really care about. I'm not going down that path. I'm not making those arguments. I'm going to talk about the things that matter to everyday Americans.
WALLACE: Just to be clear, because you seem to -- to indicate you think the president, President Obama, loves this country?
WALKER: I think, in the end, he and anybody else who is willing to put their name on the ballot certainly has to have the love for country to do that.
WALLACE: You say that you're a fiscal conservative. But the latest projection, two -- two year out projection from the state of Wisconsin is that you're going to face a $2 billion budget shortfall. That sure doesn't sound conservative.
WALKER: Well, that's the state budgeting in the sense that when the fall request came in for every agency, including those that I don't control came out -- I mean the total tally, if I gave them everything.
The budget I presented on February 3rd to the state legislature actually ends that two-year period with a $123 million surplus, just like I finished each of the last four years.
WALLACE: But part of the way that you balance the budget, get rid of the $2 billion budget shortfall, is that you cut funding, state funding for the University of Wisconsin higher education system by 13 percent. You cut funding for the state parks system by 28 percent.
Governor, are those your priorities?
WALKER: What I'm doing with the University of Wisconsin system, a system I care about because I've got a son who attends one of those campuses, is I'm giving them the same sorts of tools I gave to public education four years ago. Four years ago, the same critics said that was going to devastate public education. I took away seniority in tenure and now, we can hire and fire based on merit. We can pay based on performance. We can put the best and the brightest in our classrooms --
WALLACE: But the University of Wisconsin says they're going to have to raise tuition on students.
WALKER: But they're not. We have a two-year tuition freeze.
WALLACE: I know but they're saying after that.
WALKER: Going forward, we have a cap on it tied to inflation. And so, we will be much more affordable than just about any other campus in America.
And the reason I point out the schools is they said that it was going to lead to doom and gloom. Our graduation rates are higher. Our third grade reading scores are up. Our ACT scores at second best in the country.
We believe it's not about austerity, it's about reform. In Washington, they talk about cutting things. That's about austerity. And what we've done in Wisconsin is push reforms. The reforms that worked before will work here.
WALLACE: While you've rolled back collective bargaining rights for public worker unions, during your reelection campaign, you said that a right to work law for private unions would be a distraction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: It would bring in another group of protesters in large volume to the capital would distract from all the other things, tax reform, education reform, entitlement reform, UW reform all the things we want to do going forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, the Republican legislature is fast tracking right to work and you say you're going to sign it.
Why the flip?
WALKER: Well, it's not a flip. It's I was a sponsor in the legislature. I never said I'd veto it. I asked for them not to make it a distraction early on in the session. I presented my budget, I laid out my agenda, they're acting on that right now. Now is the perfect time.
So, it's in the midst of the early things they brought up and the things that will come up --
WALLACE: So, why is it the distraction during the election campaign, but it isn't now?
WALKER: I laid -- well, I laid out early on, the things that I wanted to do with education reform, tax reform, entitlement reforms. We've been able to lay out on the table. It is a perfect time now because the legislature is not acting on those things in the budget, and will have signed it by next week.
WALLACE: Your critics accuse you of another flip. They note the fact that during the reelection campaign, when you were running against a woman, you ran this ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: There's no doubt in my mind the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one. That's why I support legislation to increase safety and provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Do you believe that a woman has a right to end a pregnancy at any point during those nine months?
WALKER: Well, I think ultimately, I mean pro-life because that's an unborn child. When I think of the ultrasound picture that Tonette, my wife, and I saw of our first son, who's now going to be 21 this June, it's indistinguishable not to recognize that it's a human life. That's why I'm pro-life.
My point is we acted on the grounds that we have legally to be able to act under the Supreme Court's decision. We'll act that way at the federal level if we were in a position like that, as well.
But ultimately, it is a life.
WALLACE: But ultimately it's her choice?
WALKER: Well, legally, that's what it is under the guidelines that was provided from the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: And would you change that law?
WALKER: Well, I -- that's not a change you can make. The Supreme Court ultimately has made that.
I believe in the right to life and I believe that there are other things that can be done at both the state and the federal level.
WALLACE: Over the years, you have supported comprehensive immigration reform and a right to citizenship for people who pay penalties. And this for the 11 million people who are in this country illegally.
Here's what you said to a Wisconsin newspaper in 2013.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAUSAU DAILY HERALD: Can you envision a world where with the right penalties and waiting periods and meet the requirements, where those people can get citizenship?
WALKER: Sure, yes. I mean, I think it makes sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question, isn't that amnesty?
WALKER: Well, I don't believe in amnesty. And part of the reason why I made that a firm position is I look at the way that this president has mishandled that issue. I'm one of the governors that joined -- I was one of the first governors that joined the lawsuit that has been successful, at least on this initial technicality. And I hope we prevail ultimately throughout the courts.
And then going forward, I think the way you enforce it is not through amnesty. I think the better approach is to enforce the laws and to give employers, job creators, the tools like E-Verify and other things, to make sure the law is being upheld going forward.
WALLACE: The question was, can you envision a world where if these people paid a penalty, that they would have a path to citizenship? And you said, sure, that makes sense.
WALKER: I believe there's a way that you can do that. First and foremost, you've got to secure that border or none of these plans make any sense.
WALLACE: But it's a little bit slippery here. Back when you were the Milwaukee County executive, you actually supported the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration plan.
Are you basically saying as part of a comprehensive plan, tough enforcement, E-Verify, the 11 million people already here paid penalty, they get citizenship?
WALKER: No, I'm not talking about amnesty. And even I said the reason for that is over time --
WALLACE: But you said you supported it.
WALKER: And my view has changed. I'm flat out saying it. I'm -- candidates can say that. Sometimes they don't. I'm saying my --
WALLACE: So, you've changed from 2013?
WALKER: Absolutely. I look at the problems we've experienced for the last few years. I've talked to governors on the border and others out there. I've talked to people all across America.
And the concerns I have is that we need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works. A legal immigration system that works.
And part of doing this is put the onus on employers, getting them E-Verify and tools to do that. But I don't think you do it through amnesty.
WALLACE: Are you surprised that you have come under so much fire so early? And in a sense, do you see it as a back-handed compliment that perhaps the other side -- Democrats, liberals -- are afraid of you?
WALKER: Oh, I think there's no doubt about it. I mean if they look at Wisconsin, we didn't just win three times in four years. We won the highest percentage of any Republican governor in the country of Republican voters.
But that's not enough to win the Wisconsin. I had to take almost a 12-point margin with Independent voters in the state of Wisconsin, in a state that hasn't gone Republican for president literally since 1984, not only when I was in high school, but as I joked yesterday, I had a full head of hair at that point.
To me, I -- I think voters recognize that people in the center want, in many ways, what many people in the base of the Republican Party want. And that's not a litany of issues. What they want is someone who is going to fight and win for them, someone who is going to tell them what they're going to do and then ultimately go out and lead.
WALLACE: Finally, you are the son of a Baptist preacher. And you say that you and your wife are waiting for guidance from the Lord on whether or not to run.
What is the role of faith in your private life and in your public life?
WALKER: Yes, well, I laugh. Abraham Lincoln I think had it right. He said, "God doesn't pick winners in politics. He just calls us to be on his side." And in this case, I think there are people of faith who can have a variety of political views out there.
But for us personally, you know, we make important decisions like we did years ago to run for governor. And a lot of it was about Tonette and I and our sons praying about it and asking if it was God's will for us to run.
When I got married, when we had children, we made other important decisions. And the same thing would be true in making a decision here. We're trying to discern whether or not it's God's will for us to run and then ultimately figure out the next step in terms of who's winning, that's going to be up to the voters.
WALLACE: Governor, thank you. Safe travels.
WALKER: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Congress this week, but some Democrats plan to boycott his speech. We'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what the split means for U.S. relations with Israel.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the GOP decision to invite Netanyahu without telling the White House? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There has now been injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: National security adviser, Susan Rice, using some of the toughest language yet to criticize House Speaker Boehner inviting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to Congress on Tuesday.
And it's time now for our Sunday group: Jason Riley from "The Wall Street Journal," former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, "Washington Post" columnist Kathleen Parker, and Charles Lane, also from "The Washington Post."
Well, we ask you for questions for the panel and we got this on Facebook from Karen Margrave who writes, "What was the turning point for America where Israel became the enemy of the Democrats? What happened to respecting leaders that support America?"
Jason, how do you answer Karen? When did things turn so ugly between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu?
JASON RILEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think this has been building for some time. And, you know, Netanyahu is worried about the very existence of his country and that is what is driving this decision to come here and address Congress.
And foreign dignitaries have done this before. This is not unprecedented in any way. And we have to remember like the questioner said, the enemy is Iran, not Israel. And I think those people who are making a show of boycotting this speech are giving comfort to the enemy in a sense.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, you're a big-time supporter of Israel.
JANE HARMAN, DIRECTOR, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: You bet.
WALLACE: Do you have any problem with Boehner inviting and Netanyahu accepting this speech?
HARMAN: OK. Well, let me just say -- giving comfort to the enemy is pretty strong. I don't agree with that at all. And I think Democrats in Congress love Israel, too. Our relationship with Israel depends on a strong bipartisan relationship.
Having said that, if I were a member of Congress now, I would attend the speech but I think that the timing and the process of setting up the speech was poor. And that Netanyahu would have been advantaged if he had decided in the last month or so to say, I will come after the election with the unity government. I'm sure I'll be part of that government.
And he would look much more like a statesman and that I told that exact view to Yuval Steinitz, his intelligence minister, who asked me a month ago what I thought he should do.
WALLACE: And what did he say?
HARMAN: He said he'd pass it along. He obviously -- and then he said he had passed it along. Obviously, the prime minister doesn't agree. We are where we are.
But the big deal is that Democrats and Republicans love Israel and all of us care about the existential threat to Israel from Iran.
WALLACE: Well, let me just say because the real issue here isn't the speech. The real issue here is the nuclear deal that the West and that the U.S. and our five other allies, although China and Russia, I don't know if they're allies, but the five other countries are trying to negotiate with Iran.
Here's what President Obama said about where that deal stands this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I gave the emir an update and assured him that our goal here is to be able to verify that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Kathleen, that's the concern that where this began as an effort to dismantle Iran's nuclear program, now you hear the president talking about making sure that Iran doesn't -- present tense -- doesn't, have a nuclear weapon.
KATHLEEN PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, it's all -- you know, it's such a complex thing because the president long ago said we can't trust Iran to not try to pursue nuclear arms. We sort of understood that. Now, we need Iran to support us in our pursuit of ISIS. So, we've got multiple moving parts.
As for Netanyahu's speech, I feel like it was his invitation to decline. This is not the first time the House that Boehner, in fact, has invited Netanyahu to speak. Back in 2011, he asked and he went to the White House and specifically asked whether that would muck up what were then sensitive Iran negotiation and the White House got back -- well, it didn't get back for an entire month. And then when they did the response was, it's up to you. We're going to leave it in your court.
So, this time I don't think Boehner felt like they had to consult with the president. They did give the White House a heads-up before they announced it, albeit only an hour before, but, you know, this whole -- all this distress over the protocol is sort of missing history here, I think.
RILEY: I would just add, this is not -- Republicans aren't the only ones concerned about this deal. The top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, is also concerned about this deal. The idea that this is just a partisan effort to go after Obama is not true. Congress is a co-equal branch of the government.
If the administration is so confident that this deal is so air-tight and its arguments are so forceful, why is it afraid for Congress to hear another perspective?
WALLACE: Well, let me bring in Chuck, because I -- let's get off the speech and talk about the deal. And what do you see happening here because it seems to me that as this plays out, this could get very dicey. What if Congress imposes more sanctions, what happens on March 24th if they do or don't get a deal? And if all of this falls apart, are we prepared to go to war?
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the March deadline is really kind of an interim squishy deadline because the ultimate tap is June when supposedly the thing would all fall --
WALLACE: Right. But the president has said, he has a sense that there's an agreement in principle.
LANE: Right. Now, already they've disarmed, so to speak, Congress a little bit because the bill to impose additional sanctions was withdrawn and they're not going to do that. The next piece of legislation that's in the works is one that would give Congress a say, this has been -- this has been a -- this is a bipartisan bill that's moving in the Senate, give Congress a say on the final deal.
To me, the key element of this whole thing is what happens to the sanctions, to all the sanctions, including the U.N. Security Council sanctions. If those are all removed at the beginning of the deal as opposed to --
WALLACE: No, I think it's supposed to be phased in.
LANE: That's what Obama wants.
LANE: That's what the U.S. is insisting on. But the Iranians won't agree to that, then the deal will fall apart. And then we will be left with nothing --
HARMAN: The deal won't fall apart. The new legislation was just introduced Friday. It's a new Corker/Menendez bill. And it basically removes the president's ability to wave a limited amount of sanctions during the first 60 days after the deal. It says Congress will review the deal and they will decide whether that waiver is OK or to add sanctions.
WALLACE: The White House wants to keep Congress out of this.
HARMAN: Well, Congress can't be kept out of it. I actually think that's a pretty strong idea, better than the one they had which is Congress is at the negotiating table. That's unprecedented.
This way I think this actually could strengthen the administration's hand in getting a better deal. There needs to be a strong deal or no deal.
LANE: You know, I think, we've been going -- we're in the weeds a little bit. Let's step back and look at the big, big picture here. What has happened, the United States and Israel are at each other's throats. Republican and Democrats are at each other's throats. The United States and our Sunni Arab allies are at each other's throats. The countries within the Sunni Middle East are at each other's throats.
The only person who's sitting back watching all of this very happy about all this division is Iran. And at some point, this process got out of control and sort of generating a tremendous amount of conflict and division among U.S. and its allies. By the way, some of the European countries, France is not terribly happy about the way this negotiation is going.
So, at some point, President Obama is going to have to start moving in the direction of pulling all his people back together lest the deal fall apart, we get nothing out of it on the nuclear side and Iran has managed to divide us.
RILEY: President Obama is very uncomfortable playing that role.
I think he sees the U.S. as the biggest force of instability on this planet. And that's a problem. He's uncomfortable being the leader of the free world and it has both our allies and our enemies worried.
It's not just Iran that notices this. Netanyahu notices it, which is why he's coming over here. Putin notices it.
I think he is fundamentally uncomfortable in this role and that's a problem.
PARKER: I agree with you. That's true.
HARMAN: I disagree. I think he's trying to build the biggest coalition possible against ISIS and doing a pretty careful job of that. I -- we had a visit last week from the emir of Qatar, who is in that coalition and trying -- I know there's a lot of skepticism still, but trying to make sure they're against terror gifts -- gifts to terror organizations and that they have cracked down on this.
But in any rate, I think that Obama understands America is an indispensable partner in this entire region and figuring out the way forward is hard.
WALLACE: Kathleen Parker, final word. Do you think the president is getting played by Iran? That he is more anxious for this deal than everybody else is?
PARKER: Well, I don't know if I would say he's getting played by Iran, but I think he's not taking into consideration all the facets of this that he should be.
And as to his willingness to be a leader in this, I think it comes down to a difference of approach in all things. I mean, President Obama is just much more attuned to the round table where we all sit down and sort of hash things out together, where as Israel is under existential threat at all times. And so, you can't bridge that gap, I don't think, except to -- look, to the leadership questions, Obama could have said about Netanyahu, fine, let the speaker meet with him. What's wrong with that?
WALLACE: It's very good question.
All right. We have to take a break, panelists. See you a little bit later.
Up next, Congress avoids a shutdown of DHS with a one-week extension. What does that say about the new Republican majorities' ability to govern? We'll ask House GOP whip, Steve Scalise, next.
WALLACE: Congress narrowly avoided a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security Friday, but the bill they passed only funds the agency for one week. While the fight continues over linking the budget to a rollback of the president's executive action on immigration. Joining us now from New Orleans, House Republican whip, Steve Scalise. Congressman, you kicked the can down the road on DHS funding, but what's going to be any different five days from now? Won't you be in exactly the same fix that you were this last Friday?
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: Well, Chris, it's good to be with you. And what we did was passed a bill that now forces the Senate to vote on going to conference. We actually passed a bill that pushes back on the president's illegal actions on immigration. They made changes to that bill that we don't like. So, the way Congress works is when the House and Senate have a disagreement, you go to conference. So Monday the Senate will actually be taking that vote.
WALLACE: But, House Democrats say they are -- Senate Democrats say they're not going to go to conference. So I mean aren't we going to be in exactly the same situation when the funding runs out next Friday, five days from now?
SCALISE: No, because just two weeks ago, Senate Democrats said they wouldn't even take up the House-passed bill and then sure enough Friday they did take it up and they voted on it. And so, what I would encourage is anybody who disagrees with the president's illegal action on immigration like I do, light up the Senate switchboard between now and Monday evening when they take that vote and put the heat on Senate Democrats to stop blocking this and join us and a federal judge, by the way, who's also agreed that the president doesn't have the authority to do this.
WALLACE: All right. House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi backed this one-week extension and she wrote this to her members in trying to get them to vote for this one-week extension, "Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding, that's through September next week." Question, have you and the other Republican leaders made any commitment to Nancy Pelosi that you'll have a vote for full funding this next week?
SCALISE: No, and in fact, there was a vote for full funding on Friday and we rejected that. And so, the next step is that the Senate will have a vote on their floor Monday afternoon to go to conference and I would urge Senate Democrats to stop blocking this. Let's go to conference and work out these differences and finally put a check on this president that he himself said 22 different times he doesn't have the authority to write his own immigration policies. We're going to keep fighting this battle.
WALLACE: All right. There's another issue that's out there. There's a lot of talk that Speaker Boehner is going to put a clean bill, a bill that would fund DHS through the end of September without any linkage to rolling back the president's executive action on immigration, and that he's going to put that on the floor this week. If he does that, will he lose his job?
SCALISE: Well, Chris, there is no such deal and there's no such bill. Like I said, Friday there was a bill on the House floor to pass a clean funding bill. And we rejected that because we said we're fighting the president on what he's done illegally on immigration and we want to continue this battle and go to a conference committee, so we voted to go to conference instead of that clean bill and now the Senate is forced again to take a vote on Monday whether or not to go to conference. And I would urge them to do it. I would urge Senate Democrats to stop blocking our actions. To stand with the court and stand with the Constitution and let's go enforce the rule of law.
WALLACE: There's a lot of talk that the so-called freedom caucus that's about 50 of the more hard-lined, more conservative Republican members are talking about going after John Boehner's job as speaker. How seriously do you take that talk about a revolt?
SCALISE: Well, Chris, we had this vote just a few weeks ago, and that vote is over. We are moving forward ...
WALLACE: The vote -- you're talking about the vote to make him speaker?
SCALISE: That's correct, yes. And obviously he's speaker. He's going forward. And he's working hard to get our agenda moved through the House and we've already seen some good action. We've moved the Keystone pipeline bill. The president vetoed it, but he's finally had bills like that on his desk. We've also passed other bills to get our economy moving again and we're working on a budget right now where we can finally get control over Washington's spending and get a balanced federal budget. We're not slowing down, we're moving forward with the strong agenda to get our country moving.
WALLACE: Forgive me, Congressman and I understand it's your role to put the best face on things, but people are talking about what happened on Friday night as a humiliating defeat for the House Republican leadership. You wanted a three-week extension and 52 members of the House Republican caucus, 52 of your own members, ended up voting against your own measure that the leadership put out.
And let me talk about your responsibility because you are the Tea Party favorite, if you will, who will join the leadership with the assurance that you are going to be able to bring more conservative members to back the leadership. You're also as the House whip, the person who is supposed to count the votes. What happened?
SCALISE: Well, Chris, our goal last week was to pass a bill that funds the department while also continuing the fight with the president, which meant the next step was, after the Senate had taken language out of our bill that we have passed that pushes back on the president's actions we wanted to go to conference. We didn't want to accept what they did.
SCALISE: We've done that.
WALLACE: I understand, but ...
WALLACE: You put up a bill for a three-week extension and you were defeated and defeated basically by your own caucus, 52 Republicans. What happened?
SCALISE: Well, first of all, about 80 percent of our conference voted for this strategy, including some of our most conservative members and we did pass a bill to keep this fight going through next week. And Monday is that vote now. We forced a vote in the Senate. And so, obviously our members have a lot of differences on how maybe we want to go about tactics. But our goal is the same. Our goal is to fight this president's illegal actions on immigration and we're now in a position to force the Senate to go to conference committee, which was what we wanted to do all along last week when they rejected our language.
WALLACE: You can't -- having forced them to go to conference, they're going to vote on it, they're going to defeat it and then, I mean, forgive me, and then you are going to be back in exactly the same situation.
SCALISE: Well, I wouldn't presume that because again, last -- what, two weeks ago the Senate Democrats said they weren't even going to take up our bill, Chris, and sure enough on Friday they were forced to take up our bill and so now they might say whatever they want to do, but there's going to be a vote. And that why I say, it's important for people that agree with us that the president doesn't have this ability to put illegal immigration laws in place executively, they need to light up the Senate switchboard and make those Senate Democrats feel the heat who have been standing with the president on his illegal actions.
WALLACE: All right. Let me change subjects on you. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accepting an invitation from Speaker Boehner is going to address Congress, a joint session speech on Tuesday morning, and he is going to talk about how terribly he thinks the deal is that the U.S. and the West is now negotiating with Iran. Let's play this out. He asked Congress to oppose more sanctions. The talks break down. Iran begins to get ramp up. It's nuclear program. What happens then? Are you prepared to take this country to war to bomb, to attack Iran's nuclear program?
SCALISE: Well, first, Chris, I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu. I think it's going to be a critically important speech that not only people throughout America are going to be watching, I think people all throughout the world are going to be watching this, because they understand how important this threat is of a nuclear-armed Iran. And so while the prime minister has serious concerns about this negotiations, I share those concerns. And frankly we saw the sanctions working well, so well that Iran came to the table unfortunately the president removed those sanctions.
WALLACE: Yeah, but Sir, that's not true.
WALLACE: He didn't -- He didn't remove -- they relaxed some of the sanctions.
SCALISE: They relaxed the sanctions.
WALLACE: But most of those sanctions are still in place. And the question I have for you is ...
SCALISE: But they took some of that pressure off. We want to increase that pressure.
WALLACE: But if the talks break down, are you prepared -- it's a pretty straight-forward question, are you prepared to vote to take this country to war against Iran?
SCALISE: I'm prepared to continue doing what we need to do to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. There's strong bipartisan support in Congress for increased sanctions against Iran.
WALLACE: What about war?
SCALISE: I think you've heard that. I think what we need to do is keep the sanctions going. The sanctions were working. You want to prevent war, you talk, talk, but you also have to back it up with actions. Increased sanctions, give us a better position. It's ultimately achieve victory in this, and that is stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. That has got to be a top priority of this administration.
SCALISE: And terrified with radical Islamists is a critical fight, but also nuclear-armed Iran ought to be a major concern. And they're moving forward. We have got to roll that back.
WALLACE: And finally, congressman, we haven't talked since the story came out that, excuse me, back in 2002 you spoke to a group that was founded by David Duke, the former Clan leader. You say that was a mistake that you regret. And my question is, since that came out in December, have you made an effort to mend fences especially with the African-American members of the House?
SCALISE: Sure, Chris. And I made it very clear that I rejected bigotry of all forms. And so, you know, we continued to build relationships and focus on things that we can do together to get our country moving forward and solve problems where we have joint agreement. I've been very proud of a lot of the work I've done in New Orleans. I was on the board of Teach for America. And we transformed a failed public school systems in the city of New Orleans, probably the most corrupted and failed system in the country. And now we have got a system where kids who before were being denied opportunities for educational advancement are now getting great options where their parents can have schools competing for those kids. I want to continue doing good work like that where we can expand opportunities for all Americans. That's what we're fighting for.
WALLACE: Congressman Scalise, thank you. Thanks for joining us today and we'll stay on top of the new DHS funding deadline, which is next Friday. Thank you, sir.
SCALISE: It will be a full week. Great being with you, Chris.
WALLACE: You bet. Congressional Republicans get their act together and show they can govern?
Plus, will foreign contributions to the Clinton foundation be a problem for a Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. We'll bring back our panel to discuss both.
And what do you think? Do you see a problem with the Clinton foundation taking donations from other governments? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and use the #FNS.
WALLACE: Now, you can connect with "Fox News Sunday" on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out exclusive material online on Facebook and share it with other Fox fans. And tweet us @foxnewssunday using #FNS. Be part of the discussion and weigh in on the action every "Fox News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAL ROGERS, R-KY., APPROPRIATIONS CMTE CHAIRMAN: It's the 11th hour and we must act to provide stable continuous funding for the agencies and programs tasked with defending our home turf.
PELOSI: This is really, really amateur hour to the nth degree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi both expressing frustration over the DHS funding stalemate and we're back now with the panel. So, Kathleen, how much of a mess is this DHS deadlock? Especially for Republicans and what do you think of these reports of John Boehner's job might be in jeopardy?
PARKER: Well, it's a mess because once again, the Republicans have put themselves in the position of being seen as the obstructionists. The first -- the people who can't govern, who can't contrary to what Scalise just said, move forward. Obviously his goal and the goal of the Republicans this time around at least this past week was simply to get the Senate to vote on something. They wanted to be able to sort of spread the blame around I think a little bit. And as to Boehner's problems of leadership, I think it's less a problem of his leadership than it is a problem of this 50-person rebel rousing crowd who are never going to vote with anyone. They're always -- they're there to vote against. That's what they came to office to do and that's what they're going to do. They think that they, you know, when they fail, they want to fight these unwinnable battles. And when they fail to win, such as tying health care to funding last year and whenever that was and now this, the immigration issue, they can't win these things and yet when they can't win them, they blame leadership instead of understanding that it's their own amateur hourness (ph) that's getting in the way.
WALLACE: All of you rebel rousers who are indulging in amateur hour please send your e-mails to Kathleen Parker.
PARKER: I think we're already in contact.
WALLACE: Everybody talk, and Chuck, I talked with a conservative, quite a conservative Republican member of Congress this weekend and he said the problem is, we don't know how to surrender. We don't have the votes to force the Democrats and to force the president, you know, to roll back the immigration executive order and the problem is we're just stringing this out for another week. Is that fair?
LANE: It's almost like they're bleeding themselves at this point. And the irony is, they had such a great off ramp available when this federal judge essentially stopped the president's immigration action in its tracks. It's not going into effect. It's not happening and in fact it's in a bit of limbo while that whole thing goes on. As Senator McConnell perceived immediately, this is the perfect out for the Republicans and this is just a measure of, I guess, the nice way to say it was the highly principled stand of this freedom caucus, some might say, the utterly lackey and pragmatism stand is that they won't even take that. And as a result you have the situation where they're just going to bleed some more and more. People talk about Boehner being thrown out. At a certain point I wonder why he wants the job anymore.
PARKER: No kidding.
WALLACE: Real quickly, you want to say something? Because I want to turn to another subject.
HARMAN: Boehner's move, best move is to put the full funding bill on the House floor. He didn't put -- he put a three-week funding.
WALLACE: If he does that, you don't think there is going to be a revolt?
HARMAN: No, well, I think some 50 people will be mad as hell. But I actually think, he will enhance his chances of surviving his leader and oh, by the way, let's put America first instead of talking about who to blame.
WALLACE: All right. Let's -- talking about putting America first, I want to turn to the report this week that the Clinton foundation has been accepting millions of dollars in contributions from foreign countries, including one from Algeria that apparently violated the FX deal that the Clinton Foundation made with the Obama White House when Hillary Clinton first came into office as secretary of state. Here is what potential Republican candidate Carly Fiorina had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLY FIORINA, FORMER CEO, HEWLETT PACKARD: Explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments do not represent a conflict of interest? She tweets about women's rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, does that bother you at all? Are you at all troubled by these donations going to the Clinton Foundation?
HARMAN: Yes. There was a process set up. All the other contributions were reviewed, as I understand it. There was transparency. This was an unsolicited contribution of $500,000 at a time when U.S. was deluged with help for Haiti. I guess it got lost in the system. I think it needs to be explained. I don't understand why the money wasn't returned or in some way after the fact approval wasn't sought, but I assume the Foundation will explain it. I just want to add, Chris that the Wilson Center accepts small amounts of foreign money, but we have board approval and full transparency.
WALLACE: Yeah, but you're not running for president. And that's the question. Because these millions of dollars from -- maybe you are running for president.
HARMAN: I am president of the Wilson Center.
WALLACE: But here is the question, Hillary Clinton is going to run for president and the Clinton Foundation is continuing to accept millions of dollars in donations from countries, a lot of which like Algeria, like Qatar have issues with the United States, have human rights problems. Do you think that that should continue on? And aren't they in a way trying to buy influence with Hillary Clinton by contributing money to the foundation that has her name on it?
HARMAN: I think the appearance of what is happening is poor and I think the process that they have, whatever that is, needs to be fully disclosed and there has to be absolute transparency and people will make judgments for themselves. But foreign governments giving limited amounts of money to groups if fully disclosed and if approved I think is certainly in the context of the Wilson Center OK.
WALLACE: Jason, but again it's a different situation. Let me just ask you this, a foreign government, any foreign contribution to an American political candidate is forbidden by law, so should it be all right to give money to a foundation that has the candidate's name on it?
RILEY: Well, I'm not a lawyer, but ...
WALLACE: I'm not asking you as a lawyer.
RILEY: Yeah, I mean, I think the appearance of impropriety here is everything and it's coming from liberals who like to lecture us about how money corrupts politics. That, you know, during the mid-term elections any Republican who took money from the Koch Brothers was considered bought and paid for. Hillary Clinton is through her foundation taking money from Qatar, Algeria, Kuwait. Does that mean she's going to be bought and paid for? I mean these are the folks -- trust about how horrible. This isn't United decision was. And then we find out that her foundation is taking this money. And again, I think the Clinton Foundation is less a charity than a political group. Basically, a super-PAC put in place to help Hillary Clinton politically.
WALLACE: And then let me just -- let me -- You have got about half a minute.
FIORINA: Perception is everything and that becomes the reality. It's a big problem for Hillary Clinton. I think one thing that we haven't mentioned, that it cuts to her, to question of judgment. Because all of this controversy could have been preempted had she not insisted as she insisted on having her name as part of this foundation?
WALLACE: And one last point, in 1996 the Clintons had a big problem with alleged foreign money coming into the DNC and their campaign operation from China, et cetera. This is going to remind everybody of that.
HARMAN: In one second, the Clinton foundation has done a lot of good in the world.
FIORINA: They sure have. That must be said as well.
WALLACE: All right.
WALLACE: I love the fact that there were three final statements here. Thank you, panel. See you next week.
Up next, our power player of the week, the people's diva gives me a singing lesson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RENEE FLEMING, OPERA STAR: Are you tenor?
WALLACE: I don't know what I am. I used to sing in a bathroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: All right, I admit it, I don't like opera. Hours of people howling in a language I don't understand. But if anyone will ever get me to change my mind, it's our power player of the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLEMING: I haven't really been able to transfer into that extraordinarily other worldly creature, other than I hope on stage.
WALLACE: Renee Fleming has been called the people's diva. It's a title she loves.
Yes, she is America's leading opera star, who has played 54 different roles. But she prides herself on being down to earth.
(on camera): Are you at all a diva? Are you difficult?
FLEMING: Am I a diva? Well, you know, there are people who probably had their moments with me. A lot of bad behavior in singers is caused by nerves, but my philosophy is that the people around us are there doing as much work if not more work behind the scenes and they're the last people you would ever be unkind to, so I hope I'm not a diva off stage.
(SINGING): I want to live ...
WALLACE (voice over): She's made a point of going beyond opera, singing rock and jazz and last year becoming the first classical artist to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
FLEMING: In those two minutes, which have to be perfect or it will follow you for the rest of your career, I can't say I've had another experience quite like it, but it was thrilling.
WALLACE: Whatever the venue, Fleming is also known as the beautiful voice.
(on camera): How is it that you're able to create this remarkable sound?
FLEMING: My speaking voice is horrendous, right?
FLEMING: But I mean it's sort of weak and it's not very resonant, but then when I sing, the sound is a totally different range, color, all of it. It's all about the breath. You take in a breath and you make a sound. So for instance, if you say, hello Renee. Try that.
WALLACE: Hello, Renee.
FLEMING: So I would teach you how to enhance that, how to increase the range. Hello Renee.
WALLACE: Hello, Renee.
FLEMING: Are you a tenor?
WALLACE: I don't know what I am. I used to sing in a bathroom.
FLEMING: Just try a siren.
WALLACE: No, I'm not doing that.
WALLACE (voice over): Masterclass aside, Fleming who just turned 56, says she'll retire from opera within three years and just do recitals.
FLEMING: My whole career I played these girls sort of 18 to 23. So, you know, and we can suspend disbelief to a point and then you sort of think, OK, that's enough of that.
WALLACE: But don't worry, the people's diva will continue to share her remarkable talent.
FLEMING: It's just something incredibly moving that the human being, a human being can make this sound and that great music has been cultivated around it. So I feel very privileged to be doing this.
WALLACE: This April Fleming opens on Broadway in a comedy called "Living on Love." Her role, an opera diva. And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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