Roe confident about prospects for DACA deal

Hank Hayes • Sep 14, 2017 at 5:30 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe said Thursday he believes Congress can get a legislative deal done to retain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or the DACA program, to protect young immigrants from deportation.

Roe said President Trump was right to end the Obama-era program and force Congress to do something.

“This bill will be more comprehensive than just DACA,” Roe, R-Tenn., said in a conference call with reporters. “ … Just building a wall won’t fix the problem. It’s much more complicated than that. We will vote on a bill that will move the agriculture visas from the labor department to the agriculture department. … We will look at border wall funding, whether it’s a wall with drones, cameras or a physical wall. … If you don’t secure the border and allow people to come over … amnesty will not fix the problem. … Do I think DACA will happen? I do.”

Roe explained why he voted for H.R. 601, which included $15.25 billion in emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Association, which was slated to run out of funds on September 9, for the initial response to both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. In addition, the legislation included a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 8 and included a temporary increase in the debt ceiling until December 8.

“Many of my colleagues’ homes have been damaged. … The preparation that was done is unprecedented. … The loss of life could have been much worse. … It was easy to support that package,” Roe said of the bill.

Roe also responded to these questions:

Why is Congress still passing continuing budget resolutions (CRs) and not passing an annual budget?

“We have to stop doing that. … In the last three years, we’ve lost four times the troops in training exercises than we have combat. A lot of that is we’re wearing the equipment we’ve got out, and you’ve got planes falling out of the sky. The thing that you do when you pass the CR is you continue to spend the money exactly the same way. We’ve got to stop that. … We have got to get our military more funding.”

What will Congress do to extend the Choice Act, the bill that allows military veterans to access health care outside of the Veterans Administration?

“We need to look at how we’re going to fund the Choice Act when it runs out of money again,” said Roe, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “We only funded that bill for six months. We signed it into law during the August recess. We will have to refill those coffers in either January or February. Then we will have to do a redo of the current Choice Act. … Hopefully, it will expand coverage for our veterans.”

What should the U.S. do about North Korea’s nuclear threat moving forward?

“President Trump got handed a bad rough deal because of the failures of both Republican and Democrat administrations not dealing with this problem. … Now you can see why I’ve been saying, ‘You cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.’ You cannot have another nuclear rogue nation in this world. … I don’t believe for one minute that the United States will preemptively strike North Korea. I can tell you if a war breaks out, this may be worse than World War II. You have multiple nuclear weapons that could be fired and take out an entire continent. … I think you will see diplomatic solutions.”

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