Chairman: Border Patrol Only Catching 5 to 10 Percent of Drug Smuggling

Johnson prefers an “incremental” approach to immigration reform, rather than a large bill.

“Let’s make sure the smartest minds stay here to grow our economy but also low-skilled labor, too -- to make sure we actually do have the labor across the board without depressing American wages. We always have to keep that in mind,” he said.

Johnson also told the audience that he had asked President Obama to make his White House staff available to senators for work on budget issues.

According to Johnson, the long-term projected deficit over 30 years is $8-9 trillion in the first decade, $31 trillion in the second decade and $88 trillion for the third decade, totaling $127 trillion in federal deficits.

During one of the group’s meetings, Johnson said Obama came in the room for the last half.

“He wanted tax increases on the table, fair enough, and I said, ‘Mr. President, if you want everything on the table, here’s how you put it on the table: use your bully pulpit. Take the truth to the American public. Show them the depth of the problem so that we collectively as a society take the first step in solving any problem, admit we have one,’” he said.

Johnson, a member of the Budget Committee, recalled Obama saying, “We can’t show the American public numbers that big. If we do, they’ll get scared. They’ll give up hope.” And, “Besides, Ron, we can’t do all the work. We have to leave some work to future presidents and future Congresses.”

“Now, that is jaw-dropping,” said Johnson.