A White House lunch aiming for cooperation boiled into a fresh dispute with newly empowered Republicans over immigration reform Friday, with GOP leaders warning President Barack Obama to his face not to take unilateral action.
The president stood unflinchingly by his plan to act.
Republicans attending the postelection lunch at Obama’s invitation said they asked him for more time to work on legislation, but the president said his patience was running out.
I say, The republicans want more time?
It would seem to me that they have had 6 years to do something, anything, they just want to stall until January, then while in control “once again, do nothing!”
He underscored his intent to act on his own by the end of the year if they don’t approve legislation to ease deportations before then and send it to him to sign.
The Republicans’ approach, three days after they resoundingly won control of the Senate in midterm elections,
“seemed to fall on deaf ears,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a telephone interview.
“The president instead of being contrite or saying in effect to America, ‘I hear you,’ as a result of the referendum on his policies that drove this last election, he seems unmoved and even defiant.”
“I don’t know why he would want to sabotage his last two years as president by doing something this provocative,” said Cornyn.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, your group have been sabotaging the president for the past 6 years!
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week said the president’s stance was “like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
Obama press secretary Josh Earnest said there was no reason that executive action on immigration should kill opportunities for the president and Republicans to find common ground.
“I could stand up here and say Republicans to vote once again for the 50th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that that’s playing with fire or waving a red flag in front of a bull.
I’m not really sure what that means,” Earnest said.
The White House said lawmakers went home from the meeting with a parting gift — a six-pack of beer brewed at the White House. The White House also said Obama laid out three areas where he and Congress could work together before the end of the year — emergency funding to combat the Ebola outbreak, approval of a federal budget and quick action on spending to fight the Islamic State militant group.
House Speaker John Boehner’s office said he told Obama he was ready to work with the president on a new authorization for military force against the IS group if the president worked to build bipartisan support.
In other words,” put boots on the ground so that they can cash in on making equipment and burning extra fuel and so on, why care about our men and women that they want to needlessly put into harm’s way!
The White House announced soon after lunch ended that the U.S. was sending as many as 1,500 more troops to Iraq to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel as part of the mission. Obama is also asking Congress for more than $5 billion to help fund the fight.
Friday’s two-hour meeting was tense at times, according to a senior House Republican aide. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, about to lose his grip on the upper chamber, barely said a word, the aide said. The aide said at one point as House Speaker John Boehner was making an argument on immigration, Obama responded that his patience was running out and Vice President Joe Biden interrupted to ask how long Republicans needed. Obama angrily cut Biden off, the aide said.
NEDRA PICKLER and ERICA WERNER
Associated Press WASHINGTON
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, listen as President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Friday.
EVAN VUCCI / AP