Congress has several large issues on its agenda including the Farm Bill, the federal debt ceiling, and immigration reform, but the U.S. House is largely at a standstill.
Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder said on Up to Date this morning that there’s not a lot getting done on Capitol Hill but different parties doesn’t have to mean gridlock.
“The years we did the best frankly, you had a Democratic President and Republican House and Senate in the 90s,” said Yoder. “You had four years of a balanced budget. So sometimes when you have bipartisanship you have one party running one branch and another the other, you actually get the best legislation.”
Yoder says gridlock produces only incremental changes and more is needed to deal with the country’s problems. Democratic Congressman from Missouri also was on the show. He said it was a small group of Republicans holding things up.
Missouri Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver also appeared on the show. He supports the Senate immigration bill but says it isn’t perfect. That bill would create a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.
Cleaver says if the House doesn’t act on immigration reform, it may take years to make a change.
“Depending on who the next presidential candidates are and how that issue is debated in the next presidential election will determine when it comes up,” said Cleaver. “This would be losing a pretty big chance of getting something through.”
Yoder opposes the Senate bill, he says one of his main concerns is border security but other areas need to be beefed up as well.
“We also need a good visa entry/exit program. Forty percent of the folks who are here have overstayed visas. Part of that is we don’t know when people leave,” said Yoder. “There’s no way to tell when they depart, so they stay longer so that’s important.”
Yoder says the Senate Bill is only one proposal and that he’d like to see the House given time to work on various committee proposals.
Congress is currently on its summer recess and will return to Washington, D.C. next month.