Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoOvernight Energy: Ethanol groups prep for fight over mandate Trump’s nominee to lead FDA could make drug prices low again Top Senate Republicans ding CBO amid concerns over ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wyo.) said Sunday that any executive action on immigration would blow up hope of bipartisan cooperation with the White House.
Barrasso said President Obama’s decision in the next two months would set the tone for the new Congress in January, when Republicans will control both chambers.
Obama has not fully come to grasp with implications of the election, he added.
"Nobody ran for office and won a Senate race based on the president having more executive authority to take executive actions on amnesty or on healthcare or any other of those issues," he said.
Barrasso was one of 13 congressional leaders invited to the White House on Friday following Tuesday’s midterm elections, in which Republicans took back control of the Senate and increased their majority in the House.
Barrasso said Obama spent an inordinate amount of time discussing his planned executive action, which could delay the deportation of millions of people who came to the country illegally. The economy was not sufficiently discussed, he said.
"I was astonished that during that whole lunch the president didn't ask us anything about that at all," he said. "He was so focused on this executive amnesty issue that he ignored the idea of having a dialogue on ways we could actually change the direction of the country and move forward with regard to jobs and the economy."
Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraEye on 2018: Five special elections worth watching Blue states rush to block Trump’s emissions rollback Overnight Regulation: Trump faces big decision on regulatory chief MORE (D-Calif.) was also at the meeting and said Obama discussed four of five topics.
He said the debate turned to immigration immediately after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said it would be difficult to get anything done if Obama went though with executive action.
"Whose fault is it that we didn't discuss the economy more? It was John Boehner who started off right away — executive action, it is going to be tough to do anything," Becerra said.
Becerra noted there is precedent for the type of changes Obama is considering on immigration.
Obama reiterated his position that he would do everything he could legally do through executive action. But he said he is encouraging Republicans to override it with comprehensive legislation.
"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," he said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."