WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Mitch McConnell, the probable next Senate Majority Leader, believes “the Senate needs to be fixed.”
McConnell made the comment during a press conference Wednesday after Tuesday night’s election where the Republicans gained control of the Senate.
“The Senate, in the last few years basically, doesn’t do anything. We don’t even vote,” McConnell told reporters, taking a subtle swipe at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The first thing I need to do is get the Senate back to normal. That means working more.”
The current Senate Minority Leader says it’s his job to get the chamber to function again.
“The Senate was the problem, not the House. The American people have changed the Senate so I think we have an obligation to change the behavior of the Senate and get it to function again,” McConnell noted.
McConnell explained he wants to get an energy deal done with President Barack Obama in the next Congress.
“We need to embrace the energy revolution that is going on in our country,” McConnell said.
McConnell says it would be a “mistake” for Obama to take unilateral action on immigration.
McConnell says he spoke with Obama on Wednesday and says he looks forward to finding areas where Republicans and Democrats can agree, specifically citing trade agreements and rewriting the tax code. But he says any executive action that Obama might take to address the nation’s immigration system would only antagonize Republicans.
McConnell says the new Republican majority in the Senate wants to take action on immigration.
McConnell trounced Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the 35-year-old Secretary of State, by 15 points in Tuesday’s election. The race pitted the powerful fundraiser with three decades of Senate experience against the state’s top elections official, also the daughter of a state Democratic Party boss. About $78 million was spent, mainly on attack ads, most of which were funded by outside groups that were freed by the U.S. Supreme Court to spend like never before. The result was unrelenting negativity.
Democrats had hoped to capitalize on McConnell’s paltry approval ratings and unseat the Senate minority leader in a state where Democrats control the governor’s office and five of the six statewide constitutional offices. But McConnell succeeded in framing the race around Obama’s even lower popularity in Kentucky.
In an interview with Time magazine, the Kentucky senator McConnell warned President Barack Obama that Congress will push back if he acts unilaterally on immigration and says Congress will use spending bills to rein in or restrict what he calls executive overreach by the president.
McConnell also insists there will be no government shutdowns as the new, all-GOP Congress looks for issues to work with Obama, such as trade or tax reform.
Republicans captured Senate control in Tuesday’s elections and expanded their majority in the House. McConnell says one of his goals will be to ensure the GOP retains its majority in 2016 when several senators in Democratic-leaning states are on the ballot.
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