WASHINGTON, D.C.—If President Obama moves forward with his executive actions on immigration he would be “squandering” one of the best prospects for bipartisan immigration reform, according to Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).
“There is an opportunity for the president to reconsider, as he has done once before, and I hope he will reconsider and decide to work with us in a bipartisan, bicameral way to fix our broken immigration system,” Cornyn said Tuesday afternoon. “If he proceeds forward with this executive order, it will squander the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time to make progress.”
Cornyn and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) both expressed disappointment at the lack of bipartisanship coming from the White House, notably on immigration.
“The president has made it a lot tougher to get off on the kind of bipartisan footing that I had hoped would get established this year, not to mention next year,” McConnell said. “But our goal is to fund the government. How long will be determined, I think largely, by the House majority in consultation with the Senate majority and avoid retroactive taxes.”
Republicans are currently looking at their options on how to combat or block the president’s executive orders. Using funding mechanisms as leverage is one of the options on the table.
McConnell said it is “always appropriate” to use the power of the purse but noted that the president has an “important trump card” in the veto.
“So there will be ongoing negotiations on the various efforts to fund the government both this year and next year about priorities. This is not unusual. And we do have different priorities, and somehow we are going to have to work out things and make progress for the American people,” the Kentucky lawmaker said, adding that there will have to be compromise.
Cornyn meanwhile recalled Obama’s past statements in which the president claimed to not have the very authority many expect him to now exercise. The Texas Republican further noted that the actions he is considering are unfair to those immigrants who have followed the law and that the current broken system benefits the cartels and traffickers.
“Right now the people who benefit the most from our broken immigration system are the cartels, the transnational criminal organizations for whom this is a wonderful business model. They traffic in children, they traffic in drugs, and weapons, and the like. And the president’s executive order does zero, zip, nada, to shut that down,” Cornyn said.