On January 28, 2024, “Face the Nation” aired an interview with Tim Kaine, a Democratic Senator from Virginia. The transcript is provided below.
Can you rephrase the following text:
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will now speak with Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, who is joining us from Richmond. Senator, based on what you have heard about the White House’s agreement with the Senate, are you prepared to give your support?
Senator Tim Kaine expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Senators Jim Lankford, Chris Murphy, and Kyrsten Sinema in tackling the challenging issue of immigration reform. He acknowledged that the last time this issue was addressed was in 1986 and emphasized the need for a bipartisan approach to finding a solution. Senator Lankford has previously expressed disappointment with President Biden, while Senator Kaine himself was disappointed when President Trump rejected a border protection deal in 2018 that would have allocated 25 billion dollars towards border security.
However, we cannot simply rely on past events. We must take immediate action to do what is right. One positive aspect of this bill is its ability to aid in the interception of fentanyl. In 2012, 50 individuals in Virginia died from fentanyl overdose, but in 2022, that number rose to 2000. We are aware that fentanyl is entering the country through the Mexican border, primarily through ports of entry. This bill will assist us in addressing this issue. Despite President Trump’s suggestion to wait and vote against the bill, people are currently suffering and cannot afford to wait any longer. This bill will provide much-needed relief in this situation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The current proposal does not address the status of individuals known as “dreamers,” a longstanding request from the Democratic party. During the Trump administration, you stated that asylum was a fundamental value of the United States. How do you feel about the potential restrictions on asylum under the Biden administration?
Senator Kaine acknowledges that the current bill is a difficult compromise and he believes it should focus more on immigration reform rather than just border security. However, he recognizes the urgency of addressing the fentanyl crisis. He is particularly interested in exploring the specifics of what James described, including the idea that while standards may change between ports of entry, normal processing will continue at those points. This, in his view, will promote order instead of chaos. He looks forward to delving into the various details of the bill.
I hope this bill will address more than just border security and also include comprehensive immigration reform. However, I believe there will be some positive aspects regarding work visas and support for children who arrive at the border without knowledge of the language or laws. This bill may provide them with a better understanding of their rights. We must thoroughly examine the specifics and reach a compromise. The success of this deal is crucial for funding security measures in Ukraine, providing humanitarian aid in Gaza, and supporting defense in Israel. It is important that we move forward with this agreement.
Can you provide an update on whether Senate Democrats, led by Schumer, have given you a timeline for addressing this issue? Also, is there a backup plan for Ukraine if this approach is unsuccessful?
Senator Kaine stated that the plan is for Senator Schumer to allow the border deal to be finalized, after which the Senate will move quickly to vote on the overall package. The package includes not only the border and Ukraine, but also Gaza and Israel, aid for the Indo-Pacific region, and disaster relief for states. While many components of the package are popular, the border negotiation with Ukraine and the Israel-Gaza negotiation have been challenging. If an agreement cannot be reached on the border issue, it does not necessarily mean that aid for Ukraine will be lost, as there are enough votes in both houses to support it. However, addressing the border issue is crucial, as cartels are profiting from bringing people to the border. Additionally, assistance for Ukraine must be provided soon as they are at risk without support from the US.
Margaret Brennan: I would like to bring up the topic of aid to Israel. As you mentioned, the United States has halted some of its aid to the UN agency in Gaza after Israel provided evidence that 12 of its employees were involved in the attack on October 7th. According to the UN, at least two of those individuals have since died. Do you believe that it is just to suspend aid for an agency that supports 2 million people based on the actions of only a few individuals? How will this issue be addressed, especially considering the agency’s claim of facing collapse?
Senator Kaine stated that the humanitarian needs in Gaza are extensive and that while Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas, the majority of Gazans are not affiliated with the group and have actually suffered under their rule. He acknowledged that there are 2.2 million people in need of aid and expressed disappointment in the limited amount of aid that has been able to reach Gaza. In the current negotiations, there is a focus on providing both defense support for Israel and robust humanitarian support for Gaza. Senator Kaine emphasized the importance of ensuring that this aid reaches the people of Gaza and suggested turning to other NGOs if the UN agency cannot be trusted. He also stressed the need to increase the speed and quantity of aid being delivered to Gaza.
Margaret Brennan: Later in the show, we will have one of those agencies with us. It is much smaller than the UN, which has 13,000 employees. President Biden has mentioned that the US will continue to carry out strikes on the Houthis. I understand you have concerns about this.
Senator Kaine expressed concerns about the lack of congressional authorization for U.S. military action in Yemen and the Red Sea against the Houthis. He highlighted the need for a clear strategy and plan for deescalation, especially since American personnel from Virginia are currently at risk in the region. A bipartisan group of senators wrote to the president to request more information on the legal justification for these actions and to understand the involvement of other nations in this mission. In the upcoming week, there will be further investigations into these pressing questions.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. We will also ask one of our future guests about some of those points. Thank you, senator, for joining us today.