RNC Chairman Priebus said Wednesday he doesn't 'believe a thing' Obama says
This comes despite initial bipartisan overtures on both sides
But a McConnell-Boehner editorial laid out a partisan agenda
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gave voice Wednesday to the mistrust between his party and President Barack Obama after the President said he was “not going to just wait” on Republicans to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“I don’t believe a thing he says,” Priebus said Wednesday, when asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett about working with the president. “All he’s been doing for the last year is lying to Hispanic voters across the country.”
While both parties said Wednesday that they hoped to find common ground, they also signaled imminent conflict. Obama made it clear that he was still planning to pursue executive action on immigration reform this year. The expected next Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday laying out their agenda for the next two years – which includes repealing Obama’s signature health care law.
And Priebus also questioned why Republicans should compromise with Obama.
“After the American people repudiated the policies of Barack Obama and everyone that was connected to him, to now say ‘Well, what are you guys going to do to compromise with the person the American people had just repudiated?’ I think it’s a little bizarre,” Priebus said.
In an editorial entitled “Now we can get Congress going,” Boehner and McConnell spent most of their ink touting their legislative agenda and the chance to pass bills that Majority Leader Harry Reid has kept off the Senate floor.
The Republican leaders pledged to pass legislation to repeal Obamacare and authorize the Keystone pipeline – both measures Democrats have ardently opposed.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson fired back in an email Thursday accusing McConnell of “letting Senator [Ted] Cruz set the agenda” by vowing to repeal Obamacare and pointed out that the word “compromise” was “conspicuously absent from Senator McConnell’s vision for the next Congress.”
And after slamming Democrats for keeping bills from getting a vote, the pair signaled that Republican control of Congress will herald a new era of more inclusive governance.
“We will restore an era in which committees in both the House and Senate conduct meaningful oversight of federal agencies and develop and debate legislation; and where members of the minority party in both chambers are given the opportunity to participate in the process of governing,” McConnell and Boehner wrote.
The top two Republicans in Congress also left a key item off their agenda in the editorial: immigration reform. The two sides continued to butt heads over the issue on Wednesday.
McConnell said during a press conference Wednesday that executive action from Obama would be a “mistake” and would “poison the well.”
McConnell also said there “certainly are going to be areas of disagreement” and said Obama “has really got a choice.”
That choice should be to “give the new Congress a chance” on immigration reform, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is considered by many to be the linchpin of any comprehensive deal on immigration.
“‘At the end of the day the Republican Party would benefit from getting immigration reform off the table,” Graham said Wednesday on CNN.
Graham was one of Tuesday night’s victors who got a call from Obama. And Graham said he told the President to be patient, but also challenged the GOP on immigration reform.