McConnell says there will be a new day in U.S. Senate with GOP majority; Obama expects a 'productive relationship'

11/05/2014 10:13 PM

LOUISVILLE — Fresh off his 15-point trouncing of Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell predicted Wednesday he will ascend to the position of U.S. Senate majority leader as the GOP locked control of the chamber on Election Day.

Speaking to state and national reporters from the University of Louisville’s Chao Auditorium in the McConnell wing of the Elkstrom Library, the current Senate minority leader said he had talked with President Barack Obama, a major foil in his re-election bid against Grimes, just before appearing at the press conference.

McConnell, who is poised to lead Republicans in the upper chamber, said the two leaders talked about working together, and McConnell also predicted the GOP-led Senate would send Obama bills he would not favor.

However, McConnell did list two points he said both Obama and he agree on — fast-track trade agreements and tax reform.

“The president and I were just talking about that before I came over here. Most of his party is unenthusiastic about international trade — we think it’s good for America. So I’ve got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner for America,” McConnell said (7:07).

“The president and I discussed that right before I came over here. I think he is interested in moving forward. I said send us trade agreements — we’re anxious to take a look at them.”

A major theme of McConnell’s campaign was a new direction of the U.S. Senate, which McConnell said would get back to work — and could mean some late nights.

“The first thing I need to do is get the Senate back to normal. If that means working more — I don’t think we’ve had any votes on a Friday in anybody’s memory. It means opening the Senate up so that amendments are permitted on both sides, and it means occasionally burning the midnight oil in order to reach a conclusion,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s relationship with Obama has been a contentious one over the president’s term.

Speaking Wednesday, McConnell said the president will be a player in larger discussions because he can either veto bills or deliver Democratic votes — something McConnell will likely need to reach a filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority.

“We’ll see whether we can work with the president — I hope so,” McConnell said.

Obama also spoke to reporters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, and he made a pitch to sit down to a drink with McConnell.

“i would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell,” Obama said. “My interactions with Mitch McConnell — he has always been straightforward with me.

“To his credit he has never made a promise that he couldn’t deliver and he knows the legislative process well. He obviously knows his caucus well. He has always given me realistic assessments of what he can get through his caucus and what he can’t, so I think we will have a productive relationship.”


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