Congressman John Carter Braces for his “Profile in Courage”

By Jonathan Tilove | Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 07:49 AM

“I went to Iraq and Afghanistan four years ago with Governor Perry. All he did the entire time, all seven days, was talk. He’s a big talker. I spent a lifetime with him.” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Good morning Austin.

While attention in Washington has been focused on the Senate “Gang of Eight’s” immigration plan, there is another, far more low-profile group of eight lawmakers who will be releasing their own plan for comprehensive immigration reform in the next week or two.

It is a bipartisan group of eight members of the House who have been talking with one another and hammering out a plan for three and a half years that includes two Texas Republicans — Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Sam Johnson, R-Plano. The other members are Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra of California, Zoe Lofgren of California, Louis Gutierrez of Illinois and John Yarmuth of Kentucky, and Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Raul Labrador of Idaho.

The eight have played their cards close to the vest, agreeing not to reveal any details of their plan until they release it together. But I talked to Rep. Carter, who chairs the the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and it is clear he was pleased with what they have accomplished while bracing for what’s to come.

“It’s one of those Profile in Courage moments when you ask, `What did I come up here for?’ Try as we might, we’ve worked our tails off and then it could blow up because of politics. But really, somebody’s got to try. If we don’t have the right plan, we certainly have the right problem that needs to be solved. We need to address the problem and not just talk about it but do the work.”

Carter said his engagement with the effort began with his own conversations with his Texas colleague.

“Sam Johnson and I both talked about having the same feeling that somebody was going to have to take a chance and come up with at least a partial solution to the immigration issue, to figure out a way to compromise, to come up with a good plan. It’s very dangerous politically.”

“It has been satisfying for me to be involved in it. I’ve been very pleased with the ability of folks to put aside the political dimension of things and to talk about how to fix it. We have been able to work very cordially across the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, and keep the thing to ourselves so that we wouldn’t have outside influences pulling at us as we we’re trying to find a middle ground that would strengthen our immigration system and protect our country and all the things we totally want to do with a better immigration system, and defend our borders, and do it in such a way that we could get 218 votes to pass the House. We made a deal we won’t go public until we launch it in the next week or two.”

Earlier this year, Real Clear Politics identified Carter as a “lawmaker to watch” on immigration.

Here is a recent interview on immigration reform he gave to the Texas Farm Bureau in which he talked about the importance to agriculture of creating a more orderly and dependable system that will enable Texas farmers to find labor that it can afford without running afoul of the law.

“Now are they going to allow people to come in for under the minimum wage? No. Whatever this bill carries it’s going to carry a minimum wage number.”

Cruz: Not Gonna Happen

Sen. Ted Cruz was the subject of a profile on CBS this morning. Here is his exchange with correspondent Jan Crawford on immigration.

Ted Cruz: “President Obama does not want an immigration bill to pass.”

Jan Crawford: “You’re suggesting the president is not operating in good faith?”

Ted Cruz: “I think the president wants to campaign on immigration reform in 2014 and 2016 and I think the reason the White House is insisting on a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is because the White House knows that insisting on that is very likely to scuttle the bill.”

Perry in Chicago: Day Two

Some coverage of Gov. Perry’s two-day trip to try to lure businesses to Texas.

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues baiting Illinois and city officials” from Maudlyne Ihejirkia in the Sun Times.

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday wrapped up his two-day visit here on his quest to lure Illinois businesses to Texas — but not before continued baiting of state and city officials with his dissing of Illinois. “I think it’s fairly inarguable that Texas is the number one state in which to do business, although Gov. [Pat] Quinn and [Mayor] Rahm Emanuel might argue it,” the former Republican presidential candidate said, as he joined two other governors on a panel at the Bio International Convention running through Thursday at McCormick Place. “And it’s not just Texas saying it.”
“Rick Perry Targets West Loop Financial Firm In Pitch To Lure Jobs To Texas” at CBS Chicago

“CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has learned which Chicago company he has in his sights: Performance Trust, a financial services firm based in the West Loop … About 180 people work on and around the trading floor of Performance Trust, Battle’s fast-growing financial services firm. The company was founded in Chicago, with offices in the West Loop, but has been targeted by Perry for a two-step to Texas … “They called us up, and they came in at lunchtime yesterday,” said Brian Battle, director of Performance Trust. “I’m not saying we’re leaving, but … when you hear a pitch from the governor of the state Texas, you have to listen,” Battle said.”

Gov. Pat Quinn didn’t seem worried that Perry would steal lots of jobs from Illinois. “I went to Iraq and Afghanistan four years ago with Governor Perry. All he did the entire time, all seven days, was talk. He’s a big talker. I spent a lifetime with him,” Quinn said. “I think he’s gonna be as successful here as he was in his presidential campaign.”

But, here’s a semi-sympathetic editorial take on Perry’s visit. “The Lone Star State’s Greener Pastures,’ is from the Telegraph – “serving the River Bend since 1836.” (That would be five Illinois counties – Madison, Jersey, Calhoun, Macoupin and Greene – in west central and southern Illinois where the Mississippi River flows more west to east than north to south.)

“It takes a certain bravado for the governor of one state to announce he’s swooping in to steal jobs from another state. Of course, Texas Gov. Rick Perry never has been a shrinking violet. The one-time presidential hopeful faced his share of criticism over his comments during his campaign and never backed down. So it’s unlikely a few verbal jabs from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are going to slow him. Especially when a new report shows how poorly people view the business climate in The Land of Lincoln. The survey by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management could be a ready-made sales brochure for Perry.”

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