Politics & Government

GOP’s freshman class president talks cooperation

Rep.-elect Ken Buck of Colorado will be president of the Republican House freshman class, and he’s taking cooperation and compromise, not fierce partisan battles.

Buck told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program it’s “important that we approach this job as problem solvers, not as partisans.”

“I think compromise is part of the legislature,” he said. “We need to compromise within the Republican Party...make sure we work with Democrats to achieve goals on overall legislation.”

But, Buck said, “Where I will not compromise is on the fiscal issues that have dragged this country down.”

What that means, for instance, is that “I think we have to make substantial progress on balancing the budget. If we do that, I will take a serious look at voting to increase the debt.”

On immigration, Buck said, “we can have a rational discussion on the subject.” Immigration promises to be one of the year’s early flashpoints. The Department of Homeland Security is funded only through Feb. 27. The agency is responsible for immigration enforcement.

He stuck to a familiar Republican position, saying, “I am not going to address the issue of the people who are in this country illegally until we have a system in place that gives the American people certainty in the immigration area.”

The new Congress convenes at noon Tuesday.