The Chatter: Paul calls for immigration reform; Grimes hammers on student debt; McConnell supporters talk coal

06/11/2014 03:05 PM

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul said the lines of communication should remain open on the issue of immigration reform Wednesday after the loss of a member of U.S. House leadership spooked some reform advocates.

Paul joined Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist Wednesday for an immigration teleconference hosted by The Partnership for a New American Economy to outline why reform was needed.

The call was announced Tuesday and then held Wednesday, less than 24 hours after U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Republican primary in Virginia. Immediately, reports claimed that Cantor’s loss meant sure defeat for immigration reform.

But in the call, both Norquist and Paul were quick to say Cantor’s race would not end the reform debate.

“The idea that somehow one Congressional race out of 435 is a trend or should stop a conversation on immigration reform would be less silly if it wasn’t for the fact that South Carolina had their primary on the same day and a senator who has been very much aligned with comprehensive immigration reform, Lindsey Graham, overwhelmingly won in South Carolina,” Norquist argued on the call.

Paul also used the call to discuss his own proposal for immigration reform he proposed in 2013 that centered around giving Congress the power to make sure the border is secure before giving illegal immigrants legal status. That proposal did not pass.

But Paul said one of the main arguments in favor of immigration reform from a conservative standpoint was the need to end the status quo.

Grimes criticizes McConnell on student loan vote

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes sought to bring a different topic into the race Wednesday by hitting Repubilcan U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell on a vote against a bill dealing with student loan debt.

McConnell voted against a measure Wednesday to allow Americans with outstanding college loans to refinance them pushed by Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

McConnell said Democrats were trying to make the issue of student loan debt into a political game and he did not believe Warren’s bill would solve the problem.

But Grimes said the vote is part of a pattern for McConnell.

“Senator McConnell’s blatant disregard for the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians crushed by student loan debt is deeply disconcerting. This vote against our middle-class families underscores the fact that my opponent has been in Washington for far too long and just does not get it,” Grimes said.

Grimes went on to call on Congress to pass this legislation as well as a bill to address issues in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

McConnell campaign brings in supporters to criticize Grimes

McConnell’s campaign called in reinforcements Wednesday to continue an argument that Grimes is not as supportive of the coal industry as she claims to be.

After a recorded evidence of Grimes leaving the topic of coal out of a speech in front of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the McConnell campaign held a press conference call with McConnell supporters from eastern Kentucky to discuss the issue.

Speakers on the call included state Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, and the Democratic mayor of Hazard, Nan Gorman, who praised McConnell’s work in regards to the coal industry.

Smith, who recently visited Washington, D.C., to discuss regulations with the Environmental Protection Agency but was turned away, criticized Grimes for getting on the national stage and “forgetting” to talk about coal.

“You put me in front of Harry Reid or a House Democrat, we would speak our mind about coal,” Smith said. “She stands in front of a crowd of Hollywood elites and she can’t remember that? You shouldn’t be Secretary of State if you can’t remember something that important.”

Hear some of the remarks from the speakers on the call here:


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