'This Week' Panel: Congress Gridlock

Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Tom Cole, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
3:00 | 07/14/13

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Transcript for 'This Week' Panel: Congress Gridlock
this republican congress turned advise and consent into deny and obstruct. These are dark days in the history of the senate. These procedural blockades are obvious and unprecedented. But the republican leader says there's nothing here. He will be remembered as the worst leader of the senate. They went at it this week over what's being called the nuclear option. More on that ahead. And we bring in orrin hatch, and amy klobuchar, and from the house, congresswoman karen bass, gop leadership team. Welcome to all of you. I want to talk about the debates in the congress, but the breaking news overnight. The not guilty verdict. Karen bass, your reaction? It was a devastating verdict. I just am very concerned about what message this sends to the community. The fear that people must have now. But, you know, I just think that it was very sad. Sad, senator hatch, but was justice served? It looked to me like it was. If the rule is you've got to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, there were doubts. But it's a serious is set of problems that exist, and I agree with the commentators we need to look at the matters more carefully. But I think the verdict was, at least from all that I watched, it seemed to me it was an accurate verdict. Senator, you're a former prosecutor, a member of the judiciary committee, should they bring a civil rights case? Or should he pass? I know the investigation going on. As a former prosecutor, you have to wait to see the evidence. They'll have to make the decision. It will be tough, but going through with the investigation important. My thoughts are with the family. I've seen this before, it's hard to take. I hope they take solace in the support they have across the country. A 16-year-old boy going out to get snacks at a convenience store shouldn't end up dead. And congressman, we talked about the two debates, the legal and the moral debate. How do we handle it? It's hard to keep them separated. This is a tragedy that should have never happened. Zimmerman should never have in the car, had a gun, shouldn't have been out. The police advised him to stay home. But we don't know what happened in the actual encounter. That's what the jury struggled with. They were trying to determine what happened. Is there a reasonable doubt here? It's a pretty high standard. We'll be talking about the case for a long time to come. They have to decide on the facts of the case, there are moral dimensions. And obviously, we have to come to grips with that. And that will continue. Thank you for that. Now to the immigration debate in the senate and the house this week. Congressman cole, your leadership decided to go forward with single bills on the various aspects of the problem, it sure seemed like, senator hatch, that the bipartisan bill you supported is dead in the house right now. Any way to get it back on track? I don't think it's dead. I think the house members will take it as a serious challenge, and I'm counting on them. Our bill isn't perfect in the senate. There are a lot of things i think need to be perfected, and the house can do a good job, and hopefully go to conference and come up with a bill that will solve the festering sore with 11 million people who don't know where to go, to do, and we don't know what to do with them. Most of them are pretty good people and would like to be americans or at least have a job here. We can work this out. The senate bill goes a long way in going to do that. I want to give marco rubio credit, he had guts to do everything he did on the bill, and he was a formidable force, and the gang of eight people were very good too. Let me tell you something, I'm counting on the house to get it better. I'm counting on the house, realizing we can't just continue on with this de facto amnesty, which is what marco rubio calls it. And I think that's an accurate description. Counting on the. But he raised a couple of big sticking points. Number one, there's not a lot of appetite in your conference to deal with the legalization of the undocumented immigrants in the country right now. Also this whole idea of going to conference with the senate bill, a big comprehensive bill rather than piecemeal. Could you do that? Can you go to conference with the senate bill and will it include a path to legalization? I think you can. I'm not surprise the that the senate bill can't make it in the house. Two out of three voted no. The republican house was unlikely to see that as a main vehicle. But I do think the eight senators produced a decent product and it got better. That's why it picked up support. On our side, we have the individual approach, but there's also negotiations going on between our gang of seven for a larger, more comprehensive bill. We'll see that. Are you open to a path to legalization? A lot depends on -- I am, legalization, as long as other things are done first. What you can't have is legalization on the promise of future enforcement. This was the formula in '86. That didn't work. People have little faith in the federal government. They're going to have to see other things first. Does that work, congresswoman? Or all at once? I think it should be comprehensive. Sitting on the judiciary committee and hearing the individual bills that have been proposed, I'm very concerned. I'll give you an example. On the guest worker program, for example, the proposal said that an individual should be paid 90% of their salary, and 10% sent to their home country, and they have to go home and pick it up. I'm very concerned. There's a part that's optimistic in the sense that we felt, different than my colleague, i know, that if he put the senate bill up, there would be enough house republicans that would vote for it if the speaker will break the rule in saying that it has to be the majority. That's not going to happen. No, it's not, and it shouldn't. And I don't think there are enough people to vote for it. We never get anything out of the senate that a majority of republicans vote for and the minority of the democrats. This idea that we're going to constantly -- we've done it three times. We have been more than fair, they have to produce a bill. Seems like everyone is -- trying put an optimistic face on this, but take a step back and say this is getting late here in 2013. If this doesn't move quickly, it's not going to happen. I agree with that. That's why we put such an ef in the senate to get a strong bipartisan bill. 68 votes in the senate. If you're looking for a conservative bill, david brooks made this argument recently, look at this bill. 197 in debt reduction in just ten years. That's something republicans should support. in 20 years. The economic growth. 90 of the fortune 500 countries by immigrants, 200 by immigrants or kids of immigrants. That's why we worked together to make it easier to bring over science and engineers that are going to start companies. And the border security, the overstays on visas, that's been improved. From a conservative standpoint, you understand why karl rove and grover norquist are supporting this bill. It's time for the house republicans to look at it from the position of economic growth. You are working together on this. We saw senators reid and McCONNELL GOING AT IT OVER THE Nuclear option. Let me try to explain. It's basically the idea that you would do away with the filibuster. Senator reid is proposing to do away with it on presidential appointees on cabinet positions. Senator hatch, you appear to have changed your mind on this. When the republicans were in the majority, you wanted to do away with the filibuster on judicial nominations. Now you're hitting the democrats for taking the same route. Why the change? I don't know how you could say I thought that way years ago. Nobody knows what I was thinking. All I can say is I was very concerned about ever exercising the nuclear option. So was harry reid and chuck schumer -- but you did come out for changing the rules at that time. A compromise was reached. But you were willing to change the rules. I don't think I did. I continue to vote against filibusters with regards to judicial nominations. I think it's a principled position. Whoever the president may be ought to have the full choice of who they put on the bench. And unless -- unless there's just some overwhelming reason why somebody should never be on the bench. But let's be honest about it, the democrats at that time said that it would be a disaster for the senate, that it would destroy the senate, and harry reid in particular made all kinds of notable statements like that. Now using that with the immigration bill, a big major bill, the farm bill, water bill, big major bill. The senate we put through 1564 nominations, and only four were defeated. Where's the -- where's the problem here? Well, senator -- they're driven by the unions. In the national review in 2005 where you justified the change in rules even though the compromise was reached. Trying to have it both ways goes on both sides. We also saw president obama now supporting senator harry reid in changing the rules. Here he was as a senator. What they don't expect is for one party, be it republican or democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. Much younger looking president obama there. This is the kind of thing that gets a lot of people out in the country upset. They say listen, there's no principle, it depends on the side and whether you have the power or not. If I'm on this show and we have a republican president, I'll say the same thing. President should put their team out there. They may put up nominees that fail in committee and have a scandal and then their own party won't to want vote for them. But for the most part, for these nominees, I'm not talking about the judges, but the president's team, of which there are currently over 180 people that are just pending right now before the senate for the executive office nominations, why we can't do 51 votes is beyond me. It's not like we can amend a person. We have to vote if they're in or they're out. And I don't think we should change the right of the minority to have their views aired on legislation, but when it comes to the president's team, we have so much to work on the economy, we're just talking about the immigration bill, work force training, bringing down the debt in a reasonable way. We're on the precipice right now. The country is in a good position to gain on the international stage. But if we're fighting over an epa director who used to work for mitt romney, and now they're going to stop her from getting confirmed. It's ridiculous. We're going to have a joint -- i wish they did that more in the house -- we are getting together monday evening, and hope to work it out. That's one step. We only have a minute left. I want you to weigh in quickly on this. Congress ratings are low as they have ever been. You're on track to pass fewer bills than any congress in history. Any way to fix it? Yeah, I think there are. We have a lot of opportunity. We have a student loan bill, the farm bill, and the end of the fiscal year and the debt ceiling and immigration. You deal with those successfully between now and the end of the year, you will have a terrific congress. If you don't, it's bad. Possible? The way to fix it is, we shouldn't be ruled by a small minority within the congress. Within the republican party you have 60 or so people who are to the extreme right and lead the day. I'm afraid you started another debate. But that's all we have time for. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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