What fights lie ahead in 2018? Four members of Congress weigh in

Democratic Reps. Joe Crowley and Debbie Dingell joined Republican Reps. Will Hurd and Mark Meadows on "Face the Nation" to discuss what Congress needs to do in the new year -- and whether an agreement to protect "Dreamers" will ever be reached

Asked about top priorities for the new year, Dingell -- the wife of legendary former Democratic Rep. John Dingell -- said that "working together" on a bipartisan basis would be essential to get anything done in the new year. 

"I don't say that I'm not going to work with anybody," Dingell said. "We clearly have to get a budget passed in January and make it long-term. But there are so many other subjects. We've got to worry about pensions, health care. I've been living in a hospital for the last two weeks with my husband. I cannot tell you how many people come to my room crying and scared to death. And we have to do DACA."

"DACA" refers to "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," the Obama-era initiative that protected undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the U.S. as children, known as "Dreamers," from deportation. When asked by "Face the Nation" guest host Major Garrett about her husband's health, Dingell replied that he is "stubborn, ornery and Twittering." 

Crowley, Dingell's fellow Democrat on the panel, agreed that protecting DACA was of utmost importance for his party. 

"I think for Democrats we're concerned about certainly pension protection, which is a major issue for us. Also, the Dreamers, the DACA issue," said Crowley, who represents much of New York City's Queens borough in the House. "The issue of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and making sure that those Americans are made whole." Crowley also warned that Republican attempts at reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare were non-starters as far as he was concerned. 

Hurd said national security must be Congress' priority in 2018, with special attention paid to Iran

"You know, we need to make sure that we're showing the rest of the world what's really happening in Iran," Hurd, a former CIA officer, said. "Because the Iranian government is trying to shut down the internet. They're trying to stop people from talking. Because there is a proxy war going on right now between Iran and our allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. And that can become a hot war. And that's going to be dangerous for everybody."

Meanwhile, Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said that economic performance would be the most important issue for Congress to focus on. 

"Do we grow the economy, or do we grow government?" Meadows said after listing a number of Republican accomplishments from the last year, such as tax reform. "And right now I can tell you it does not look well. It looks like we're going to spend more money on growing the government in January than perhaps the biggest amount of money that we spent since the Obama stimulus plan. And that's a concern for conservatives."

Turning the conversation back to DACA, Crowley and Meadow engaged in a heated debate over what to do with the Dreamers and who was responsible for putting them in legal limbo. Crowley blamed President Trump for rescinding Obama's DACA policy, while Meadows countered that DACA would have been struck down by the courts anyway, and must be codified into law through a bipartisan deal. 

"They are cultural Americans," Crowley said of the Dreamers, while acknowledging that they are not citizens. "They know no other way of life than being here. And they love this country. And they want to remain here in the United States. And what the president's saying in order to do that, we have to build a $40 billion wall that you can't drive on, you can't live in. And it's an incredible waste of American resources." 

Hurd, who represents a massive district along the Texas border, then tried to strike a moderate tone on the issue. 

"We can do this together," Hurd said. "We have to do this together. We can have smart solutions to border security. And we can solve this problem in a narrow fashion for these Dreamers who have only known the United States of America as their home."

Hurd added that "nobody's talking about deporting a million kids," a statement Crowley and Dingell both pushed back on. 

"They are talking about...deporting families," Crowley said. "Nobody who's reasonable," Hurd replied.