In Washington, Bloomberg Keeps After Congress, Offers to Trade Press Corps

WASHINGTON — After his combative stop on Capitol Hill yesterday–which included the “most ridiculous question” of his tenure–Mayor Bloomberg crossed the mall for a quick stop at the Newseum, to talk with Fox News’ Chris Wallace as part of the Washington Ideas Forum.

And Bloomberg picked up where he left off, savaging Congress for not passing immigration reform. “We do not have comprehensive immigration reform because no one was willing to do something comprehensive,” the mayor explained.

He called the 1986 immigration reform bill “a typical congressional thing–you pass a law with no teeth in it and then everybody can go home and say, I took care of your needs.” Even after the bill, Bloomberg said businesses were happy to hire undocumented workers and that Congress was happy to turn a blind eye. “We had it both ways. And Congress just does this all the time,” he said.

“Unless it’s comprehensive, Chris, it’s meaningless and there’s no reason to talk about it,” the mayor said curtly.

Wallace laughed. “Boy, I’m glad I cover these simple guys in Washington and not the mayor of New York.”

“This solves your problem,” the mayor deadpanned. “Now you can go on to the next subject.”

“Well, unlike the City Hall press corps, we’re not so easily cowed, Mr. Mayor,” said Wallace.

“I would trade our press corps for yours any day,” said the mayor.

Asked later whether the press back home could take that as something of a back-handed compliment, Mr. Bloomberg told The Observer: “No, I said I’d trade. But I guess it depends on which side you’re on.”

In Washington, Bloomberg Keeps After Congress, Offers to Trade Press Corps