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[EXCLUSIVE] U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers talks border protection, East Central Alabama’s biggest threat, and Trump presidency


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Congress, particularly the House of Representatives, has been busy since President Donald J. Trump took office in January.

More bills have passed out of the House in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency than the previous five. This house passed 103 bills in Trump’s first 100 days. In comparison, the House passed a combined 70 bills during Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s first 100 days.

Thirty of the 103 bills passed through the House in the first 100 days were signed into law, six more than any other administration. This Congress has also done something no other congress has done before. Only once in history has a regulation been overturned via the Congressional Review Act. This congress has overturned 14 Obama regulations this congress. According to Congressman Mike Rogers, these acts have saved $3.7 billion in regulatory costs and 4.2 million hours in paperwork.

With so many bills passing through Congress quickly, it is easy to lose track of what representatives are doing in Washington. To keep you up to date, Managing Editor of Michael Brannon (MB) sat down with Rogers (MR), asking him everything you would want to know.

*NOTE – Rogers responses are summarized. The entirety of the interview can be listened to here:

MB: Starting out, with the amount of bills that have been passed in the House in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, can you tell us a little bit more about what the House is doing and what that means for East Alabama?

MR: Unfortunately, the public does not get an exact picture of what is going on in Washington. The truth is this has been a very productive Congress. In fact, the most productive House of any recent presidency. We have had 103 bills passed in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. More important than that are the regulations we have been able to roll back under the Congressional Review Act. We have overturned 14 of Obama’s last minute regulations so far in this Congress. We plan to save American’s $3.7 billion in regulatory costs. One of the things we will vote on is The Choice Act. It will be huge for businesses around the country. It will dial back the regulations on community banks and credit unions. The truth is the larger Wall Street banks should have more strict regulations because of their irresponsible behavior, but the community banks just want the federal government to leave them alone. I expect to see this pass the house.

MB: You’re a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee. You have introduced the Boreder Security Funding Act of 2017. You will require illegal workers to pay a fee on the money they send back to their home countries. Elaborate on that.

MR: One of the things Trump talked about during his campaign, was we are not only going to secure the southern border, but we were going to make the Mexicans pay for it. One of the things that occurred to me was that the majority of people who come here to work are sending a share back home to their families. They live modestly here, but they are here illegally. Half of the money goes to Mexico, but a lot goes to other countries in South America. My bill proposes a 2% fee to any dollar that is wired to other countries with that money going to the wall. This bill would generate $1 billion per year, dedicated to constructed and maintaining the southwest border.

MB: If illegal immigrants are sending money across the border and illegal immigrants are who we are trying to stop from entering the country, is there something that will be done to those currently here?

MR: Two things: since Trump has taken office, we have seen a dramatic decrease in border crossings. But the truth is he has already aggressively started trying to pursue the folks who are here illegally, especially those committing crimes. That’s who we are most worried about. If illegal immigrants can prove they aren’t a terrorist, a felon, you have a job, pay taxes and learn English, we can give them guest worker status. That won’t give them citizenship, but it will allow them to stay here legally. We will not even talk about this until the border is secured. The priority is two-fold. Secure the border and remove those dangerous to society.

MB: Security across the globe has been heightened, especially with the attack in Manchester last week. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, how do you ensure an attack will not happen here?

MR: This is a constantly evolving threat and one thing I have worried about for years. Terrorists have started to recognize there are many soft targets they can hit that get global attention. So when you look at attacks in stadiums in Europe and here and events like the Boston Marathon, it shows the threat is evolving, we will have to pay more attention to soft targets and do a lot better job scrubbing those who are coming into our country. When you see these people are willing to murder children and their mothers, little girls at a concert, we have to recognize they are a real threat that we better get more serious about.

MB: In the State of Alabama, what do you see, right now, as the biggest concern in your state and district, and how can you combat that?

MR: Getting the regulation from government out of our lives. Small businesses are busting at the seam to be able to go out and prosper. But they just need the federal government to get out of their way. If that happens, we will see unbridled economic growth in our country. I think that will happen. Everywhere I go people have a sense of optimism about where we are going economically.

MB: Where do you see Trump’s administration going? Will he continue the same trends? Will he change things up a little bit? What is your thought now that he is well into his tenure as president?

MR: It is my hope that he gets very aggressive about populating the agencies with his mid-level management people. For example, right now in the Department of Defense, which is the largest organization on the planet, he has two appointees. There are nearly 500 appointed positions that he has fill in the Pentagon. The same thing is true in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and so on.  He has to get busy putting a staff in place in those agencies.

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