President Obama will meet with incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this afternoon, according to the White House press office.
The meeting will take place at the White House, as Republicans debate how to handle a funding fight over Obama’s decision to grant executive amnesty to as many as five million illegal immigrants.
The scheduled meeting will not be a “bourbon summit” according to CBS reporter Mark Knoller, just a meeting. After heavy Democratic losses in the midterm elections, Obama signaled that he would be willing to meet with McConnell more often.
“You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell,” he suggested weakly during a news conference after the election.
But that was before Obama announced his executive amnesty, something Republican leaders warned would kill inter-party relations.
McConnell discussed Obama’s hostile actions on Tuesday during The Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting in Georgetown.
“By any objective standard the president got crushed in this election,” he said. “So I’ve been perplexed by the reaction since the election, this sort of in-your-face dramatic move to the left. So I don’t know what we can expect in terms of reaching bipartisan agreement. That’s my first choice, to look at things we agree on — if there are any.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest signaled optimism on Tuesday about the possibility of avoiding a funding fight over Obama’s executive action on immigration reform.
“Senator McConnell, as I mentioned yesterday, was pretty declarative shortly after the election that there wouldn’t be a shutdown,” he said. “He obviously is somebody who is going to have pretty significant say over how this process works. So we certainly take some heart in Senator McConnell’s comments.”