Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon" -- Congressman David Schweikert will be in studio to discuss the latest from capitol hill and we'll hear about an Arizona family that helped shape western agribusiness and water policy. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon."
Narrator: "Arizona Horizon" may possible by contributions from the friends of , members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.
Ted Simons: Good evening. I'm Ted Simons. Crowd-funding and climate change are two of the issues Congressman David Schweikert will be focused on in coming months. Joining us now is Republican representative David Schweikert of Arizona's th congressional district.
David Schweikert: Always my idea of fun.
Ted Simons: I want to get to crowd-funding and climate change but immigration reform is so important to us here in Arizona and I know things are happening. It seems like will things be happening this year on immigration?
David Schweikert: In many ways that's the binary question. Do we move forward or not? I think there's a collective understanding of current law not working. It's why we have the problems we have. The house has already passed multiple times stem legislation for high-tech, high education type thesis. The decision its moving toward do we redo that and move that subject area by subject area.
Ted Simons: I know piecemeal is pejorative, but it sounds as though the Senate bill, which really does not have any chance of passing in to to as it stands, it sounds, you tell me, as if the speaker of the house says maybe we can look at this on a piecemeal basis.
David Schweikert: What has shocked me is how many folks who visit me are advocates for immigration reform yet they have no idea what's in , some of the problem issues and the mechanics. Let's face it, when you do a bill that's about that thick there's going to be a lot of mechanical errors in it. Because of that, mechanically working through it subject by subject in the AG section stands strong and fairly functional on its own. We already have a history in the house of working on the high-tech pieces, the stem pieces. With some of those you have building blocks to at least do where there's agreement. There are going to be other areas that are much more controversial. You have sort of extremes particularly in the activist community that want everything or nothing. Realty I think they have really hurt the cause that they were ultimately working for by some of the tactics that have taken place this year.
Ted Simons: The path to citizenship. Are you against a path to citizenship?
David Schweikert: It's hard for me to rationalize the path to citizenship when we have so many people around the world lined up and have been going through the proper channels of following the mechanics. In some ways there seems something diss honorable about leaping ahead of them.
Ted Simons: even with the requirements put in place by the Senate bill?
David Schweikert: Even with the requirements particularly some of the mechanics because of the way there are items within 744 that can be gained.
Ted Simons: With that in mind, what about it's okay for some of these folks to stay in the country but no citizenship. Legalization as opposed to citizenship?
David Schweikert: There you start to go through the mechanics and a lot of the work that has to happen. Do you get to stay because you have a sponsorship in your job? Because you have certain talent? Remember, the real fight underlying immigration in Washington and this has been for years is what will the system look like. Will we stay with a familial family sponsorship system? Are we going to move toward what Canada, New Zealand, great Britain has moved to, which is a talent based system, in many ways a points system? The realty this system maximizes economic growth. And we deal with our fundamental issues in this country. How do you pay for Medicare in the future? How do you deal with the baby boom retirement age? Economic growth and the things that stimulate that have to be the focus. immigration falls into that over all debate.
Ted Simons: last point on this, some would see economics as a focus. Others say breaking up families, watching families get hit hard. That's their focus. Can those two points of focus merge?
David Schweikert: It's going to be difficult. You would love to use flowerly language that says we will provide love and respect for the family unit but the definition of familial relationships in today's law is about 67 family members you get to sponsor. Would the activist community and others say it should be the most immediate part of the family? That's where a lot of that side of the debate is. On the other side is what is best for the country. What maximizes our nation's future.
Ted Simons: bottom line you think something might happen this year?
David Schweikert: I think some incremental movement will happen. My guess is it will frustrate activists on both sides.
Ted Simons: well, that probably means something good is going to have if all sides have a problem with it I know this is a big deal for you, the concept of crowd-funding and regulations. First, what is crowd-funding?
David Schweikert: Okay, equity crowd-funding is sort of a simple, almost egalitarian idea of you want to set up your cupcake shop. You make great cupcakes. How do you raise capital for it? In today's environment walking into your local community bank may be difficult, but how about the idea of finding an intermediary, here's my business plan, here's my idea. I need $100,000. I need $200,000. You're able to raise it through the internet in small increments. There's a series of restrictions on what those investments can be and dollar amounts of the investments of the individual. The idea has two very powerful things. One, it creates a proof of concept. The community, people that know this product, know this subject area, can take little bits of risk and invest. The second thing is it makes the ability for you to be an entrepreneur much more available to the person who starts the business in their basement or their garage or kitchen.
Ted Simons: Yet it sounds as though the Feds are saying there's also potential for fraud there. Maybe I'm saying I'm making cupcakes but I'm hanging out at the local resort. Maybe you as an investor aren't as sharp as you think you are and are not diversified enough to protect yourself. Should those regulations be considered?
David Schweikert: One of the beauties and concepts of crowd sourcing of information and raising money, which equity crowd-funding is, you have lots of participants. You can say here's people writing about this. This is a bad inV.. This is brilliant. Information is the ultimate sunshine as a regulator. We already know the security exchange commission controls regulatory environment often catches the bad guys after the bad acts have happened. Our great hope for those of us working on what will the next generation of capital funding look like, how do we use information to keep investors safe.
Ted Simons: what you're pushing for is less in terms of regulation, in tterms of reporting.
David Schweikert: there's a rule proposed you have until February 3rd to make comments on it and our great concern is if you raise over certain amounts of money as a start-up business, the cost of doing audited financials, the cost of hiring lawyers, cost of compliance, the actual cost of your money starts to get in the , 20-30%. At that point you would be almost better off going on your credit card and taking the miles.
Ted Simons: Is there a way to protect against fraud, to protect investors without going that far?
David Schweikert: I believe there is. I'm going to give the SEC credit because they seem to be listening to our concerns. The trick is finding a balance. Here's my business plan, here's the information, here's some of our betting, but also how you create the chain of liability is the site that hosts your offering. Are they liable if you make a mistake? So there's a number of those things. This should be more than just you raising money. It also -- how about a particular ethnic or business community or specialty industry also wanted to help start-ups. They should also be able to use these platforms. The idea is a new generation of how we raise money, how businesses get started.
Ted Simons: before you go now, I know you're the new chair of the house sciences committee subcommittee on environment. Talk about that, quickly, if you could. Again, sounds like the climate change initiative is something you are looking at and are concerned about.
David Schweikert: One of my reasons I believe I have been given the subcommittee chairmanship is I must have annoyed someone. This is a fact-based oversight committee. If EPA is going to do a rule set they need to share their data with everyone. Whether it be on the right, the left, academic, if someone in their basement has a good computer and wants to see the raw data set and build a model. Part of the goal I have here is not to approach it from an ideological standpoint but a very methodical, factual standpoint. Not to get sort of quantity on it but how to you make rules for the public yet keep the data, the science behind the rules, secret? That's actually a lot of what we have to investigate.
Ted Simons: Navajo generating station obviously is a major factor up there as well. Thoughts on that and especially the idea that the EPA plan, I'm pretty sure you're against the plan, yet there seems to be an alternative with CAP, SRP-- environmental groups involved in an alternative plan shutting down one of the plants. Talk to us about that is that not compromise in its truest form?
David Schweikert: That was less of a compromise in the mechanics with the EPA, more of a compromise because Nevada power backed out of their participation, California is walking away. So we're going to have a certain amount of idle capacity. In many ways it was why don't we trade this off. It wasn't a compromise on the PM type calculations. We can't find the facts based in the scientific study. Much of our goal in the subcommittee is to just make sure whether it be Department of Energy, EPA, those, if you're going to create regulatory schemes, let's just make sure that the chain of research is accurate, everywhere from a monitoring site to internal sampling sets. As a lawyer you have a chain of title on a piece of real estate, you also have chains of data. How it is stressed and what happens within that.
Ted Simons: In the alternative group says we can cut emissions by 33% are they working out of thin air? Facts that are unstable?
David Schweikert: In some ways you're making my argument. All data that's being used to create public policy I believe belongs to the public. It should be scrutinized, it should be treated fairly. And ultimately the final decision, the final outcome to that tells us is what it is. Right now we actually have a situation where, and the EPA -- look, the science committee has had to do subpoenas on the EPA to actually make public, to hand over data that they are making decisions that will cost the country billions and billions and billions of dollars. That data belongs to the public.
Ted Simons: good to see you. Thanks for joining us.
David Schweikert: It's been fun.