SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is running for another term. He confirmed his intentions during an interview on Focus Springfield.

When asked, Neal (D-Springfield) spoke quickly and definitively that he was running. “I take these elections seriously, earnestly and on to next round and feeling pretty good about it.”

Neal explained the working environment of the U.S. House of Representatives by detailing his work on a bill that would expand the Child Tax Credit, which he asserted would help millions of working-class families.

He said the result is not perfect, but noted, “In legislative life you make choices and if you find the good the enemy of the perfect, you’re going to find yourself at a standstill,” he said.

He added, “They [Republicans] are allowing a fringe of their own party to hold the speaker of the House and institution hostage to demands that cannot be met by Democrats for sure and when you have, as I pointed out to the chairman of our committee, when he talked to me about his plan I pointed out to him you have a two vote majority now in the House, we have a two vote majority in the Senate and we’re now in a presidential cycle. It is unlikely you’re going to have these vast victories but that does not stop the idea you’re going to have some incremental victories that are good for the American family.”

Speaking about the current debate concerning additional money for greater border security being linked to funding for Ukraine and Israel, Neal said that he is in favor of supporting Ukraine.

“We should not be naïve about Russia and its expansionist policies. Crimea comes to mind [and] now Ukraine,” he said. He noted that none of the former Soviet Union bloc countries such as Poland and Bulgaria, are interested in rejoining Russia. Putin, Neal added, promised this current military effort to rebuild the former Soviet empire.

Neal said that beside assisting Ukraine, he supports more aid to Israel and to Taiwan as that nation faces growing pressure from China.

The congressman added, “I think a trade-off for the border can be done. I do not favor open borders. The No. 1 responsibility of the federal government is national security. You can’t have a million people walking across the border and not knowing who they are. I also favor a path to citizenship. I think the plan the president is currently negotiating, that is playing out in the United States Senate, might have some merit. But let me say something as you follow politics pretty closely, there are a lot of Republicans who feel that if you get an agreement on the border now you take the issue away from Donald Trump in the presidential election cycle.”

He continued, “So, there are times in Washington, let’s be frank, when people want the issue instead of the solution because they want to take it to the election cycle. That’s a Machiavellian approach to this but let’s not be naïve about the president’s posture on this. He favors some sort of solution to the border crisis because it is a crisis.”

As someone who comes from a family of immigrants, Neal took issue with Trump’s statement at a Dec. 16 New Hampshire event and on his Truth Social social media website that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of America.” He described Trump’s position on the border crisis as “reckless.”

“We need immigration in America,” Neal said. “Employers need immigrants.” He added this country, as well as others, with decreasing birth rates need immigrants for the workforce.

He asked, “How would Cape Cod function without immigration? How would Berkshire County function without immigrant labor?”

Neal said that work visas is another part of the solution.

When asked of Neal knows the new speaker of the House, Congressman Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana), Neal said he has never met him and believes that is true for 75% of his Democratic colleagues in the House. “I think when he was chosen it came out of nowhere,” he said.

Because Johnson is considered part of the Christian evangelical group of Republican members of the House, Neal said “He is getting more room” than his predecessor Kevin McCarthy (R-California).

However, Neal predicted that Johnson will soon learn he will not get spending bills through the House without the help of the Democrats.

“They can’t pass these bills on their own. We’re not going to pass bills that arbitrarily cut necessary and needed initiatives in America,” he said, adding the Republican hardliners are “so far out of the mainstream.”

Speaking of the efforts of House Republicans to impeach President Joe Biden, Neal called it is “a significant diversion.” He added, “Let me castigate the members of the Ways and Means Committee for participating in this nonsense.” Neal is a long-time member of the committee and its former chair. “There’s no role for the Ways and Means Committee during the impeachment process. That belongs to the Judiciary and Oversight — nothing to do with the Ways and Means Committee.”

He added that disinformation is now part of the campaign cycle and he said it’s not just an issue for the right as the left is embracing it as well. The difference between misinformation is that is a mistake but disinformation is deliberate.

“And its more and more a part of where we find ourselves in the political system,” he said.

For the complete interview go to youtube.com/watch?v=jjEBcuhCJJQ.

+ posts