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Trump Unveils Infrastructure Plan; Deficit Headed Back to $1 Trillion; Trump's Speech on Infrastructure Plan; Immigration in the House. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired February 12, 2018 - 12:00   ET



[12:00:15] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

President Trump sends a budget blueprint to Congress and rolls out his long promised infrastructure plan. The yawns from fellow Republicans tell you just about everything you need to know.

Plus, who to believe? A president, who vents about his chief of staff on phone calls to friends, or the president who sends top aides on the TV circuit to insist the chief of staff is just fine.

And, do not adjust your set. The Senate's top Republican and top Democrat make a public show of respect.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: When we need to come together to solve our country's problems and most pressing issues, we can and do successfully work together. As the longest serving leader of the Senate Republican caucus, he understands the pressure that every leader faces, including me. I'm new at the job.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: As majority and minority leaders, we're kind of like the offensive and defensive coordinators. I've been both roles. As Coach Catrino (ph) can tell you, offensive coordinator is better.


KING: Offensive coordinator is better. We'll get to that one in a few moments.

But any moment from now we'll hear from President Trump. He's unveiling his long promised infrastructure plan at the White House. The president's proposal turning $2 billion in federal money into $1.5 trillion in investments to repairs America's roads and bridges. That math, though, counts on state and local governments and the private sector to foot most of the bill.

This is all part of the president's new $4 trillion budget proposal. You can see the books right here this morning, the big, thick tomes (ph) of the plan delivered -- this is part of a ritual -- up to Capitol Hill. The subtitle reads "efficient, effective, accountable." Perhaps they forgot to add in dead on arrival.

With us today to share their reporting and their insights, "Bloomberg's" Margaret Talev, CNN's Manu Raju, Michael Warren of "The Weekly Standard," and Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast."

Again, we should hear from the president any moment now.

We were laughing a little bit before the show, how many times have we had infrastructure week, because the president has promise to roll this out for a long time. Here it is at an interesting moment, early in a midterm election year, after signing this big spending plan that essentially makes his budget a useless document. Is that fair? Now he's going to -- now he's going to ask the Congress, which is -- a lot of conservatives are mad about spending, to ante up not a lot -- it's a small, relatively small part of the infrastructure plan, but this money. Can he get it?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be tough. I mean infrastructure in concept is something that everybody supports. But when you get into the details, particularly the financing of it, that's the real problem. Not only are you hearing -- undoubtedly you're going to hear some concerns from the conservative side, as you mentioned, particularly in the aftermath of last week's budget deal. But Democrats are not thrilled by this proposal either.

There are already some significant opposition among Democrats to get something through the Senate. You need 60 votes to get something through. That's going to require a lot of compromise on the Senate side. I mean it's getting something over to the House that the conservatives have to accept. And it's just very difficult even to get one party behind one idea. Remember how difficult it was for Obama to get his stimulus done in 2009? They barely passed that. And at that point they dominated both the House and the Senate and it was a big spending package. Here it's going to require a lot of compromise in an election year. It's very difficult.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "THE DAILY BEAST": We haven't even started hearing from the governors yet, because the governors are not going to be happy about the fact that states and localities are going to have to kick in more money according to this plan. Democrats are criticizing it saying it's not enough in that it's putting the onus in places that might not be able to pony up the cash in order to invest in these projects, no matter how much they want them. So, I mean, I've been watching my inboxes to start hearing from particularly even Republican governors who are say, we can't afford this.

MICHAEL WARREN, SENIOR WRITER, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes, and I think there's also that big question in particularly the House Republican Conference. Are they really going -- you know, they've already sort of been raked over the coals by, you know, activists and maybe even some of their voters for this latest budget resolution that they supported. Are they going to be OK with, is Speaker Ryan going to be able to cobble together enough Republicans in the House to pass a $200 billion -- maybe even more. I mean the president is, I don't think, tied down to that $200 billion. I talked to somebody at the White House who said, yes, sure, maybe he could possibly negotiate that up. The only problem there is, if you leave Republicans behind, can you get any Democrats to support a proposal that's got Trump --

KUCINICH: In an election year.

WARREN: In an election year that's got Trump attached to it?


KING: In an election year. We're going to -- and we're going to get to the specifics of this issue in a minute. But in an election year, after you -- right now you're asking them also to deal with immigration. You're asking conservatives -- you -- a lot of fiscal conservatives don't like the spending blueprint they just passed. Now they're going to be asked to vote on immigration, which they were prefer just to keep off the table. They would rather just go home and run free elections.

Before you jump in Margaret, here, two conservative members of the House to echo the point being made at the table saying, we've already done enough spending.


REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), FREEDOM CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: It makes even a drunken sailor blush. And the problem with that is, the drunken sailor actually spent his own money. We've got the government spending yours.

[12:05:07] REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: And now the Republicans are doing just as bad as Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did in 2009 and 2010 when they had control of the United States Congress.


TALEV: Right.

KING: I interrupted you. Jump in.

TALEV: Well, that's exactly right, you have to view this in the context of a couple things. One is the budget proposal and the other is the immigration debate, I think. And any president, regardless of who the president is, which party is in control of Congress, is going to put out policy priorities of theirs and let them begin as a negotiation point. So this is the infrastructure plan we have been promised for a long time, a budget plan that reflects the president's political priorities. But if you are the Democrats, you don't want to do anything unless there's a deal for DACA recipients. If you are the Republicans, you're already being asked to swallow a budget plan that actually takes the country further into red ink, in part for the wall --

KING: Right.

TALEV: Which remains controversial. Which goes back to the immigration question.

KING: Right.

TALEV: So you have got a political document here. And it is a starting point. But it's a starting point that it gets -- it's hard to get out of the gate given all these other issues.

KING: It's a starting point, and forgive me for trying to remember history because I guess it's not applicable in this situation. But we have a Republican president, a Republican House, a Republican Senate. The Republican president did campaign saying he would balance the budget. Yes, he said it would be easy. He said he would get rid of the debt over the long term.

I just want to show you a graphic here of the federal budget deficits. They started to come down during the Obama administration. Hard for a lot of conservatives to swallow, but in part because of spending restrictions imposed by Republicans on the Democratic president. You see the deficit starting to come down. And now you look at 2016, then 2017, 2018, 2019, the Donald Trump presidency, the deficit starts going that way again in all Republican Washington.

What happened?

RAJU: And it's remarkable because this was the fight in the Obama years. This was what led to a number of major near crises, government shutdowns, fiscal cliff, you name it. This was what propelled the House Republicans to take control of that chamber in the 2010 midterms and later led to the 2014 Senate takeover as well. And it's an issue that has essentially gone by the wayside for a lot of members.

But there are still some significant amount of Republicans in the House and some in the Senate, but particularly in the House, who are very concerned about this, very frustrated about this, and that's going to make Speaker Ryan's job even tougher.

WARREN: John, you asked what happened. I think Donald Trump happened as well. I mean this is a guy who won his party's nomination after all those elections that Republicans won running against deficits and federal spending. Who really -- I mean maybe he gave lip service to it, but really didn't care too much about it, and particularly didn't care and said explicitly he was not going to tackle what Republicans, under Paul Ryan -- remember the Paul Ryan path to prosperity said was most important, which was entitlement spending, particularly Medicare. And that -- that, I think, element has been lost within the party. There's a lot of fiscal conservatives still concerned about that, but they've subsumed their interests here, at least politically, for a Republican president.

TALEV: If you don't want to have attack -- if you don't want to have a sequester and you want to increase military spending and you want have a tax cut that gives back a lot of money to corporations and for a short period of time to some individuals, and you want to raise money for the wall, and you don't want to tackle entitlement reform, I mean this is what you get. This is (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Right. The president's own budget director, Mick Mulvaney --


KING: Said yesterday on one of the Sunday shows that as Congressman Mick Mulvaney would not vote for the budget. It was just sent to Capitol Hill with Mick Mulvaney's name on the title because --


KING: And here's some of the things it does. And, again, this is not unique to President Trump. Every president sends a budget up to Congress. They say thank you and they use it to balance crooked tables mostly because they write the -- Congress says this is our prerogative. We write the budget. Thank you for your outline and we'll look at it once or twice, maybe accept one or two of your priorities depending on how popular the president is.

$3 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years is in the budget, but it does not suggest it would balance the budget any more. Last year's Trump budget did say -- everyone questioned the math -- but at least said we were going toward a balanced budget. This one does not. $85 billion on veterans' health care, $23 billion for border security, which will come up -- most of that wall money from the president's perspective. Other people have different ideas. $17 billion to fight the opioid addition.

So there are some things in here, the opioid issue is a bipartisan issue.


KING: There are some things in here the president will get. But largely this is a, what, just a president -- the president's team saying, we just cut this big spending deal but we're required to send you this, we hope you look at it?

KUCINICH: Yes. I mean, no. But it's an outlet of priorities. That's what budgets are for the most part.

KING: Right.

KUCINICH: That said, because he signed this two-year deal, yes, that seems like, as you said, it's more like a door prop than it is -- and a statement of principle than it is something that's serious.

But the fascinating thing -- I just have to hammer home this thing about Mick Mulvaney saying that as a congressman he wouldn't vote for this, he's not the only person who's been dragged over like this. I mean Rand Paul received a lot of praise for the speeches that he gave last week. That said, he voted for the tax bill.

KING: Right.

KUCINICH: So it really is interesting to see how, under a Republican administration, how these deficit hawks have been -- have moved. And, you know --

[12:10:03] KING: Coopted (ph). KUCINICH: Yes, completely.

KING: And it's a -- the details aside, it's a fascinating moment because we are in February of an election year. And the party in power rises or falls based on the president's approval rating. The president's approval rating's not great right now. Republicans do think the tax cut is getting more popular. So how much do they want to align themselves with this president? How much do they want to get away from this president? Again, he's also asked them to do infrastructure. And we'll get to it in a moment. He's in a big White House chaotic piece of turmoil because of the resignation of a top aide from of domestic abuse allegations.

WARREN: But is -- so infrastructure would be something that -- and you can hear this from -- from folks around the White House that another thing that Republicans could run on, if they could conceivably pass something like that. I think the difference there is that tax cuts are something that Republicans all generally agree on. It's something that they really are all about. Infrastructure, particularly a big federal bill for infrastructure, $200 billion, is not something that Republicans are unified around. And I think that's ultimately what you're seeing, whether it's infrastructure or immigration, these are issues that divide Republicans. They're not going to want to bite.

KING: The president -- the president says they're very sexy issues. Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a great honor to have everybody with us. And we have some very exciting things to be talking about. Things you've been waiting for, for a long time. For many, many years. And now let's see how badly you want it.


Because if you want it badly, you're going to get it. And if you don't want it, that's OK with me, too.

But we have to rebuild our infrastructure. I said this morning as of a couple months ago, we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East -- $7 trillion. What a mistake. And -- but it is what it is. This is what I took over. And we're trying to build roads and bridges and fix bridges that are falling down. And we have a hard time getting the money. It's crazy. But think of that as of a couple months ago, $7 trillion in the Middle East, and the Middle East is far worse now than it was 17 years ago when they went in, and not so intelligently, I have to say, went in. I'm being nice. So it's a very sad thing.

The budget was recently passed, and the reason it was passed is because of our military. Our military was totally depleted, and we will have a military like we've never had before. We're going to have an incredible military.

And to me, that means a couple of things. Number one, does mean jobs, but really, number one, it means safety and security. Because without the military -- and we may have very strong views on spending, which I have. But without the military, it's possible there is no reason for us to be meeting. Maybe we wouldn't be here.

So we're going to have the strongest military we've ever had by far. We're increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon. We're modernizing and creating brand new -- a brand new nuclear force. And frankly we have to do it because others are doing it. If they stop, we'll stop, but they're not stopping. So if they're not going to stop, we're going to be so far ahead of everybody else in nuclear like you've never seen before. And I hope they stop. And if they do, we'll stop in two minutes. And, frankly, I would like to get rid of a lot of them. And if they want to do that, we'll go along with them. We won't lead the way; we'll go along with them.

But we will have a nuclear force that will be absolutely modernized and brand new, and hopefully we'll never have to use it, and hopefully we can reduce it in the years ahead. And that depends really on what other people are going to be doing. But we will always be number one in that category, certainly as long as I'm president. We're going to be far, far in excess of anybody else.

I'm honored to be here with the governors, with county executives and mayors from around the country. Secretary Chao, Secretary Zinke, Secretary Ross, Administrator Pruitt, thank you for joining us. I greatly appreciate it.

We're here today to discuss the critical need to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure. And one understands, and the people in this room really understand better than most, probably hopefully better than anybody, that the problem the states have and local leaders have with funding the infrastructure is horrendous. And we will build, we will maintain, and the vast majority of Americans wants to see us take care of our infrastructure.

Trucking companies are complaining that they used to take trucks from Los Angeles to New York, and there was no damage. Now they bring from Los Angeles to New York and there's tremendous damage to their trucks, because our roads are in bad shape. And we're going to get the roads in great shape.

And very important. We're going to make our infrastructure modernized, and we're really way behind schedule. We're way behind other countries. We always led the way for many, many years. Then a number of decades ago it slowed down, and over the last eight years, and 15 years, to be honest, it's come to a halt.

TRUMP: This morning I submitted legislative principles to Congress that will spur the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history. The framework will generate an unprecedented 1.5 to $1.7 trillion investment in American infrastructure. We're going to have a lot of public/private, and that way it gets done on time, on budget. It will speed the permit-approval process from 10 years to two years, and maybe even to one year. Because when we give U.S. governors and mayors, and people representing your great states, when we give you money, and you can't get your approvals, I guess we're going to have to take that money back or you're not going to build.

And some of you are sitting around the table that I know, some of the governors, you're going to get those permits, I have no doubt. Others, I see a couple sitting around the table, I don't think they're going to get their permits so fast. But you're going to have to get it; otherwise you're not going to be able to build. Because we can't give you money and you're going to take 15 years to get a permit.

In one state it took 17 years for a basic roadway to get a permit and the cost was many, many times what it was supposed to be, and we can't have that. So we want you to get going in your work on the permitting process.

And from a federal standpoint, environmentally and everything we have to do -- I see Scott is here -- we're going to get you permits very quickly.

It provides $50 billion for rural infrastructure, who have really been left out. The rural folks have been left out, including broadband internet access, which they don't have, and they want it, and the farmers want it.

It will create thousands of jobs and increased training for our great American workers. And it returns power to the state and local governments who know best what their people need.

Washington will no longer be a roadblock to progress. Washington will now be your partner. We'll be your partner. A lot of money, up to 1.7 trillion. That's bigger than people thought, and we're going to have a lot of great people working.

We're also going to also have great companies investing and building, and they'll build for you. Because sometimes the states aren't able to do it like we can do it. Or like other people can do it. Or like I used to do it, when I did the Wollman Rink. It was seven years, they couldn't get it built. It would have been forever. They couldn't get it built. And I did it in a few months at a much smaller price. They had invested $12 million in building an ice-skating rink in the middle of Central Park. Took -- somebody told me about this the other day, that they've never forgotten it. It was a big deal at the time. It remains a big deal. It took many, many years, and they weren't able to open it. And I said, you know, I'd like to be able to have my daughter Ivanka -- who is with us -- I'd like to be able to have her go ice skating sometime before she doesn't want to ice skate.


And I got involved, and I did it in a few months, and we did it for a tiny fraction, tiny fraction of the cost. And it's really no different with a roadway. It's no different with a bridge or tunnel, or any of the things we'll be fixing. The returns of money and investment to the states and local government will be incredible. And nobody knows better than you people where you want the money invested. That's the other thing. For the federal government to say, gee, this is what we want you to do in Wisconsin, Scott; you know exactly where you want to do it and you've done a great job, by the way, but you know exactly where that money is going.

And how is your new company that's opening up there doing, by the way? Are they doing okay? That was a big one. Foxconn -- that's moving along, right? They make the Apple iPhone, and I said for a long time, I said I want those companies to be making their product here. And they went to Wisconsin. Scott did a fantastic job of presentation.

I actually saw a site that I loved. I said, that was an old auto site. And I was with the head of Foxconn. Great man, actually, great businessman. Incredible. And I said, that's a great site for you, right in Wisconsin. And I hear that's where they're going, so you've done a fantastic job.

But this is a common sense and bipartisan plan that every member of Congress should support. I look forward to working with them, and we're going to get the American people roads that are fixed and bridges that are fixed. And if for any reason they don't want to support it, hey, that's going to be up to them. What was very important to me was the military. What was very important to me was the tax cuts. And what was very important to me was regulation.

This is of great importance, but it's not nearly in that category, because the states will have to do it themselves if we don't do it. But I would like to help the states out, and we're doing that with a very big investment.

One of the other things I think so important to mention is that in the budget, we took care of the military like it's never been taken care of before. In fact, General Mattis called me, and he goes, wow, I can't believe I got everything we wanted. I said, that's right, but we want no excuses. We want you to buy twice, OK, twice what you thought for half the price.


So maybe we're going to get involved a little bit in the buying. We want to get twice as many planes for half the price. And believe me, we can do a lot, because the procurement process is very outdated, to put it nicely. But we're going to have something very special.

But one of the things that was very important to me with respect to the budget was DACA. I did not want DACA in the budget. I wanted DACA separate so that we could talk about it and make a deal. And I hope to be able to make a deal. I hope the Democrats are not going to use it just as a campaign. You know, they've been talking about DACA for many years, and they haven't produced. We started talking about DACA, and I think we'll produce. But if the Democrats want to make a deal, it's really up to them, because we want really tremendous border security, but we have to have Democrat support for DACA. And they are starting that process today.

We didn't want to have it in the big budget, because if we have it in the big budget, it's going to get mixed up with all the other things. So now we have our military taken care of, and now we start very serious DACA talks today.

And we are -- I can tell you speaking for the Republican Party, we would love to do DACA. We would love to get it done. We want border security and the other elements that you know about. Chain migration you know about. The visa lottery we know about. But we think there's a good chance of getting DACA done, if the Democrats are serious and they actually want to do it.

But they didn't want tax cuts. They fought -- we didn't get one vote for massive tax cuts that have turned out to be unbelievably popular. And what came up, which was even a surprise to us were the big companies stepped up, and millions and millions of people have gotten tremendous bonuses. Nobody knew that was going to happen. That was a -- that was just the beginning point.

So we didn't get one Democratic vote, not one for the biggest tax -- and I think that's a big political problem for them, you know, if you want to know the truth. They are going around saying they made a mistake, because the tax cuts have not now -- you see what's going on. It's spurred the economy.

Unemployment is at virtually record lows. Black unemployment is at the lowest level in history. Hispanic unemployment is at the lowest level in recorded history, which is really something that's so great.

And we are very, very -- it's amazing what's been going on with the economy.

And I just want to end by saying it's an honor to have all of you with us. We're going to have a few of you make statements, and then we'll all stay around. If you want we can leave the press or we can have the press leave immediately. I'll leave that up to Scott Walker, because you're going to be the first speaker.

So, Scott, do you want to say a few words?


TRUMP: And thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Well, first off, Mr. President, I thin on behalf of all of us, all the state and local leaders, both Republican and Democrat alike, thank you to you and your administration for hosting us all today. Before you came in, we were having a good and lively discussion about answering some of the questions many of us had. You alluded to a moment ago Foxconn, which you were great to help us announce here. As I mentioned to many of the folks assembled here today, for the first time ever, LCD panels, the kind of panels here, in the future it will be even bigger, made by Sharp, will be made in the --

KING: You're listening to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker now speaking at the White House.

President Trump has a big group on hand, governors, mayors, some administration officials, unveil his big infrastructure plan. Remember, this was a big part of the Trump campaign for president. In year one he did not release that infrastructure plan. But now, in the election year, early in year two, the president asking Congress to appropriate some $500 billion in government -- U.S. federal money that would leverage again against state and local money if this goes through as planned.

The president talked there -- he went off the script a bit to talk about a lot of things, including can he get this done? Can he get this through? A test for the key members of Congress. And then the president also saying that he did not want to include DACA, the so- called dreamers issue, in his budget because he wanted it done separately.

That debate starts five hours and six minutes from now in the United States Senate when they're going to bring this issue to the floor. We know how it will begin, Manu. Do we have any idea how it's going to end?

RAJU: No, we don't. In fact, what's going to happen is they're going to vote to proceed to begin debate. But what are they going to eventually vote to end debate with, we don't know. We do know that there are going to be multiple amendments that will be offered, including one by Republicans senators to essentially codify the president's four point plan. That's going to require 60 votes in the Senate. That will not get 60 votes in the Senate.

Then there's going to be an effort to actually pass the Dream Act, something that Democrats have pushed for a long time. That will also not get 60 votes. Will they come up with some sort of bipartisan compromise in the middle, some sort of Dream Act with funding for the wall that the president has demanded as a condition of that? Perhaps that could be where they end up. We still don't know if that's going to happen. We still don't know if that can get 60 votes. And we still don't know if that could pass the House. A lot of big questions.

[12:25:11] KING: Right, it's that last part, it's that last part.

One -- there's a lot of people in the Senate that seem to want to do something. So you can -- now, this is Washington. Things go off the tracks quite a bit. And this issue has proven to be quicksand or worse over the last 10-plus years. But you can see the Senate agreeing to something. Probably a more bare bones approach.

Let's just put up on the screen what Manu was talking about. Every -- there's several legislative plans already being pushed and then some others. You do have -- you do have the president's proposed White House framework, so conservatives pushing for that. You have the Common Sense Coalition, which is Susan Collins, a bipartisan group. I thought the best -- most interesting part from her was quoted over the weekend saying, after several long meetings, fueled (ph) by several boxes of Girl Scout cookies, they still have nothing. That was "The Washington Post's" take on trying -- trying to come up with a plan there.

But the issue is, even if the Senate does something, what happens in the House? They don't want -- they don't want to touch this.

WARREN: Yes, there's been a subtle difference. And you hear from Speaker Ryan, I think it was last week, said, you know, whatever the president sends us, not a majority of the House Republican Conference, whatever the president sends us. And, you know, people were saying that a lot of immigration hawks in the Republican conference hear that as a back away from sort of what the conference really wants.

But it is a question and it's a question of, you know, whether or not the Freedom Caucus or other immigration hawks in the House are willing to go along with what the president says gets my seal of approval.

KING: All right, well, let's, on that point, let's listen to Jim Jordan from Ohio, one of the more conservative members. He's directing his ire here at the House speaker, Paul Ryan, but it might be better focused on the president, who -- whose own proposal -- yes, the president asked for the border wall money, he asked for some restrictions on legal immigration that Democrats don't like, but in his proposal on the dreamer issue, he proposed 1.8 million people would be eligible to stay in the country, ultimately have a path to citizenship. People like Jim Jordan have long said, that's amnesty.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Do I think the speaker has problems? Yes, I do, particularly now as we head into this big immigration debate.

The Freedom Caucus won't support that. And I don't think a majority of the House of Representatives will support that. And Speaker Ryan knows that he can't put a bill on the floor unless the majority of the House Republicans are supportive of that measure.

What's being proposed in the Senate is not going to be acceptable to conservatives in the House, guarantee it, because it's not going to be acceptable to the American people.


KING: And they're blaming -- he's blaming the speaker there. But the issue -- the issue for the conservatives is not the border wall or not limits on legal immigration, they would love to do those things, is the 1.8 million people. They call that amnesty. That's the president's proposal, not the speaker's.

KUCINICH: Right, but the speaker is a much easier target for conservatives than the president. The speaker isn't going to come back at him. The president might.

And Jim Jordan's district is a very conservative district. It is Trump country. And Paul Ryan, I'm imaging, haven't seen the numbers, but I'm imagining is a little less popular than the president and he's a much easier person to get hassled (ph).

RAJU: That's why it's so interesting to hear Paul Ryan, his position that he's staking out. He's saying, we'll put a bill on the floor that the president supports.


RAJU: He needs the president's cover to protect him from the right wing of his own conference because that's really the only way to get something over the top. But to your point, John, the money for building the wall could be

upwards of, say, $20 billion. That's not something that conservatives want. And they want something much more than just giving the wall for The Dream Act. They want all these other things that you mentioned as well, chain migration, diversity lottery. That's something that Democrats in the Senate don't want. So it's a very difficult thing to navigate. What Ryan wants is Trump support to help him with the right.

TALEV: It is also a matter of pass the hot potato --


KING: Right.

TALEV: Because then you hear President Trump, as we just heard in this infrastructure meeting, saying, DACA, well, I think we'll get it done. But, you know, it's really -- it's really up to the Democrats to get it done. But, of course, the Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

All this is fine. It's a nice rhetorical debate for a midterm year, except for March 5th is still the date.


KING: Right.

TALEV: And every day March 5th gets closer. So it's about three weeks away -- did I do my math right? Two and a half weeks away. And if you are one of the -- somewhere between 700,000 and 1.8 million people ultimately affected by this, March 5th is actually a real date. And there are still questions about, how will this be enforced, how will John Kelly's former Department of Homeland Security, how will ICE, how will the White House, how will the president, how will the counsel's office interpret this? What can Congress do to step in? What happens next?

KING: Right. And to your point, if this is going to get to a finish line, the president can't say, I'd like a deal, I hope Congress gets one. He's going to have to get in front of it.

TALEV: Take it across the finish line.

KING: Get in front. Now, I can understand from the White House prospective, let's see what the Senate does, and then the president steps in then. Let's see how far they can get or what they can get. But to get something through the House, the president's going to have to carry -- carry, in a way he didn't sound like he was interested in doing.

A quick break. Up next, John Kelly's job security depends on whom you ask.