GOP lawmaker: Republicans 'would be well-advised to get ready' for Dem wave in midterms

Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Overnight Health Care: House GOP blocks Trump-backed drug pricing provision | Maryland sues to protect ObamaCare | Insurers offer help to hurricane-impacted areas House GOP blocks Trump-supported drug pricing provision from spending bill MORE (R-Okla.) said Sunday he believes Republicans will face a difficult midterm election this year, but thinks the party is well-prepared.

“I think there’s going to be a very challenging election environment. Nobody’s had a good off-year election since 2002. So I think Republicans would be well advised to get ready,” Cole said on MSNBC. 

“Now fortunately I think we are. I don’t think there’s any complacency,” he added, praising the party’s fundraising efforts and candidates.

Democrats have already secured multiple special election victories at the state and federal level in the last year in areas that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE won heavily in 2016.

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Cole said Republican candidates have “good things to run on” in November because of what Congress and the Trump administration have accomplished thus far. Though Cole didn’t mention any specific issues, Republican leaders have spent the last few months touting the tax-cut bill passed in December. 

Later in the interview, Cole blamed Democrats for the failure to reach a long-term solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Cole said he thinks Trump has “shown more flexibility on the issue than Democrats.”

“I’ve always been suspicious that Democrats wanted a deal,” he said. “They love the immigration issue, they just don’t like solving the problem very much.”

The Trump administration announced last year it was ending DACA, an Obama-era program that allows certain immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

In the time since, Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on a long-term solution for those who benefit from the program. Multiple bipartisan proposals failed to secure enough votes in the Senate.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Republicans in the Senate should pass tougher immigration laws using the so-called nuclear option, which would change Senate rules to end debate on legislation with a simple majority, instead of 60 votes. He also indicated he's no longer open to a bipartisan DACA deal, despite previously saying he'd sign any measure lawmakers came up with on the issue.