The PJ Tatler

Obama on Immigration Action: If GOP Passes Acceptable Bill, 'Then What I Have Done Goes Away'

President Obama dismissed criticism of his impending executive action on immigration reform, telling CBS in an interview aired Sunday that if GOPs want to avert it they can pass a bill to his liking.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who switches to the majority leader in the 114th Congress, said Obama’s executive order planned before the end of the year will be “like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

“I presided over a process in which the Senate produced a bipartisan bill. I then said to John Boehner, John, let’s get this passed through the House,” Obama said. “For a year, I stood back and let him work on this. He decided not to call the Senate bill, and he couldn’t produce his own bill. And I told him at the time, John, if you don’t do it, I have got legal authority to make improvements on the system. I would prefer — and still prefer — to see it done through Congress.”

“But every day that I wait, we’re misallocating resources, we’re deporting people that shouldn’t be deported, we’re not deporting folks that are dangerous and need to be deported. So, John, I’m going to give you some time, but if you can’t get it done before the end of the year, I’m going to have to take the steps that I can to improve the system.”

Obama said his executive action is “not going to be everything that needs to get done,” so there’s still room for Congress.

“And it will take time to put that in place. And in the interim, the minute they pass a bill that addresses the problems with immigration reform, I will sign it, and it supersedes whatever actions I take,” the president said, adding that “if in fact a bill gets passed, nobody is going to be happier than me to sign it, because that means it will be permanent, rather than temporary.”

“So, they have the ability, the authority, the control to supersede anything I do through my executive authority by simply carrying out their functions over there,” he said. “And if in fact it’s true that they want to pass a bill, they have got good ideas, nobody is stopping them, and the minute they do it and the minute I sign that bill, then what I have done goes away.”

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told MSNBC this morning that the House “probably” will have its own immigration bill.

“A lot of it depends on whether or not the Democrats want a solution or they want to use it as a weapon in the next election,” Cole said. “Look, they had complete control of Congress for four years, two different presidents that would have signed any bill that they brought up. And they didn’t bring up a bill.”

“And with all due respect to the president who talks about this, he promised in ’08 he would have a bill on the floor in a hundred days. He never did.”