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Obama offers cordial tone to Republican Senate, says immigration reform still top priority

"I believe John Boehner is sincere about getting immigration reform passed," says Obama.

By Matt Bradwell
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Obama offers cordial tone to Republican Senate, says immigration reform still top priority
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he makes remarks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, November 5, 2014, in Washington, DC. UPI/Mike Theiler | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- President Obama offered a cordial tone for Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans Wednesday, neither conceding any specific issues nor promising any broad action in the wake of the GOP's widespread and, in many states, decisive midterm victories.

Obama did, however, say immigration reform was an inevitability, but the new Congress will be offered the opportunity to draft and pass a bill before he considers executive action.

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"Obviously Republicans had a good night," Obama told reporters, adding, "What stands out to me is the American people sent a message."

"They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions, not ours."

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Despite losing the majority in the Senate, Obama said he's looking forward to working with both houses of the new Congress on issues he knows Republicans and Democrats have common ground on.

"We all agree on the need to create more jobs that pay well."

In addition to creating jobs and keeping them from being outsourced, the president also spoke to both parties coming together on reinforcing America's infrastructure, closing corporate loopholes, finding increased funding to fight Ebola both at home and abroad, and gaining authorization to increase America's military presence against Islamic State.

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"It's time for us to take care of business."

Despite the olive branch, Obama conceded "Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign."

"Congress will not like some actions I take. That's natural, that's how our democracy works."

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Asked about comprehensive immigration reform, Obama reiterated that it remains a top priority, and he will exercise executive privilege if the only action Congress takes is to draft a bill he won't sign.

"What I'm not gonna do is just wait. I think it's fair to say I've showed a lot of patience."

Obama said he's optimistic he won't have to bypass Congress for immigration reform because "The attitude Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have displayed is encouraging."

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"I have no doubt there are those who will be angered or frustrated by any executive action I may take -- those are folks who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform, in any form. I believe John Boehner is sincere about getting immigration reform passed."

Until then, Obama is "eager" to attempt to end partisan gridlock in Washington by working with the new legislature pass laws for the American people.

"I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell."

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