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Note: Here & Now is providing special coverage of these two news conferences, beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Audio for this special coverage will be posted here shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern time.
President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress are adjusting to a new political dynamic today after voters used the midterm elections to sharpen the dividing lines in an already divided government. The president and Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is poised to become the next Senate majority leader, both held news conferences Wednesday afternoon.
Remarks from Sen. Mitch McConnell
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, in line to be the next majority leader, says it would be a “mistake” for President Barack Obama to take unilateral action on immigration.
McConnell says he spoke with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and says he looks forward to finding areas where Republicans and Democrats can agree, specifically citing trade agreements and rewriting the tax code. But he says any executive action that Obama might take to address the nation’s immigration system would only antagonize Republicans.
Speaking to reporters in his native Kentucky, McConnell says the new Republican majority in the Senate wants to take action on immigration.
Republicans captured control of the Senate from Democrats in Tuesday’s elections and expanded their majority in the House.
Remarks from President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama says he wants to work with Congress on a new authorization to use military force against the Islamic State group.
Obama says the world needs to know the United States is united behind the effort. He says members of the U.S. military deserve their government’s clear support.
Previously, the White House has cited Congress’ 2001 authorization to wage war on 9/11 attacks as legal grounds for its airstrikes against IS in Syria. The Obama administration has also cited the invitation from Iraq’s leader for the U.S. to strike IS targets there.
Passing a new authorization would mark a new chapter for U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.
Obama spoke the day after midterm elections, in which his party suffered heavy losses and Republicans seized the Senate.