By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce, R-N.M., is taking a break from Capitol Hill to talk to his constituents across his district and hear their needs while Congress is on break.
Pearce has held a series of town halls in the New Mexico communities he represents, including Portales on Friday, discussing issues ranging from immigration to the economy. But if anyone didn’t get to catch Pearce in person, he answered questions on key issues and his life.
You were asked a lot of questions in regard to immigration, in regard to reform, what is your ultimate stance?
Immigration reform we must do but my point is that amnesty or the Senate pathway to citizenship is not the only solution to the problem that’s the reason I suggested the guest worker plan. Many people who we talk to who are here illegally say they’re not much interested in citizenship that there mostly interested in working. So if we were to ask that question formally I think it would be 90 or 95 percent that would actually just say put us on a worker program. We just try to suggest something that would be good for the country and be a solution too as we definitely need to solve the problem.
This Congress has a low approval rating and has been criticized for not getting things done. As a House Republican, what issues are you willing to compromise on with the Democrats and what issues are you not willing to budge on?
I think every issue has potential for compromise but too often when people are saying let’s compromise what they mean is you got to come across to my position and with respect to the president that’s his position. I didn’t think we always needed a guest worker program, I was thinking it could something to be something short of that even, but now I said OK, I’m willing to compromise and really try to solve these peoples’ problems. It’s not the exact solution they want but I’m touched by it. I’m just not touched to the point where I say I’m willing to compromise the longtime financial security for the country. Every issue I think has the seed for compromise but too often we do not sit at a table and say, ‘Here’s my position, here’s your position, what do we agree on?’ I think if the parties did that we’d agree on almost everything. There are very few issues that separate us.
What was your favorite part about growing up in Hobbs?
I think the little league baseball fields. I started little league at 9 and played there my whole career. I played high school ball there, went over to New Mexico State and played baseball there. I drive out by those old fields and take a look at them and so I like that really well.
What do you hope to accomplish when Congress returns to its session?
The biggest thing is to make sure that this base (Cannon Air Force Base) stays stable and sound as far as its mission and its funding. It’s an important part of the community so that’s a big thing for us. The financial stability of the country, I think you can tell that kind of dominates all that. That deficit thing is a huge problem for us. Then I serve on Financial Services (Committee), so we’re trying to reform the financial services. Some of the changes put in place in 2009 are choking off the ability for local people to borrow small amounts of money for trailer houses. Fifty percent of the homes in New Mexico are trailer houses and so I’ve been a voice saying that we got to be able to borrow money for trailer houses and relax those regulations that are choking off that funding.
What is your answer to solve the budget deficit?
Every country that has tried to raise taxes to solve the budget deficit has failed. If they mix spending and tax cuts, they have a 50/50 chance of survival. But if they go totally to spending cuts, getting discipline on spending then there’s a 100 percent survival rate. So I would cut spending but I don’t want to cut into programs that hurt people. I understand there are needs for programs that help people who are having trouble.