Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Thursday that “Congress will act” if President Barack Obama carries out his plan to make major changes to immigration laws through his executive authority.
“If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act,” McConnell said in a Senate floor speech in advance of the President’s primetime address tonight. In that speech, the President will lay out his plan to bypass a gridlocked Congress on this issue and allow as many as 5 million people to stay in the country legally.
“We’re considering a variety of options,” said McConnell, who will take over as Senate majority leader in the January when GOP-control of both houses of Congress begins. “But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.”
Republicans are furious Obama is going around them and have already sternly warned doing so could wreck relations between the Capitol and the White House for the next two years.
“It seems to be about what a political party thinks makes good politics,” McConnell said. “It seems to be about what a President thinks would be good for his legacy. These are not the motivations that should be driving such sweeping action. And I think the President will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward.”
In his speech, McConnell quoted Obama from last year saying he could not act unilaterally on the issue. Executive action was “was not an option” the President had said. And the “path to get this done” is “through the Congress.”
“Imposing his will unilaterally may seem tempting. It may serve him politically in the short term. But he know that it will make an already broken system even more broken,” McConnell said as his speech concluded. “And he knows that his is not how democracy is supposed to work. He told us so himself.”