Immigration Not High on McConnell Agenda

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Immigration isn’t at the top of McConnell’s priority list. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The incoming Senate majority leader isn’t eager to tackle immigration after President Barack Obama’s recent executive action.

While Republicans in both chambers are pushing responses to Obama, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview Friday not to expect the sort of big immigration package that moved with bipartisan support under Democratic leadership in the current Congress.

“Well I can tell you for sure that what the president did after the election makes it unlikely that it is an early item for this conference. But no one believes the current immigration system is not broken,” McConnell said. “At some point, I believe it would be appropriate to do something to secure the border and maybe to address other parts of the legal immigration system as well.

“The president has taken it upon himself to deal with the question of the just about 11, so-called 11 million. That’s the most challenging part of this issue,” McConnell said. ”So I think the takeaway for your purposes today is it’s in my view not an early item for consideration in the Republican Senate. But that’s not an endorsement of the status quo either. Because, I think, you know, that there is much wrong with the way things are going now on this issue and need to be corrected.”

The House voted Thursday to pass legislation that would disapprove of Obama’s immigration action. Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that it would not see the light of day on his watch.

McConnell also spoke of his plans for a functional, bipartisan Senate.

Read the full McConnell interview transcript here.


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