McConnell reaches out to Pelosi to find common ground

McConnell reaches out to Pelosi to find common ground
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Trump selects Kelly Craft for United Nations ambassador Union leader says Green New Deal would make infrastructure bill ‘absolutely impossible’ MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday reached out to House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Can progressives govern? Dems plan hearing on emergency declaration's impact on military MORE (Calif.), marking the start of a working relationship that will be tested in the months ahead as Congress battles over President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s agenda.

“Over the course of last night and then this morning I talked to Leader Pelosi. We discussed ways we might be able to find a way forward,” McConnell told reporters.

He noted that Pelosi previously served on the House Appropriations Committee and that he is a sitting member of the Senate Appropriations panel, which could make spending legislation an area of common ground. 

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He said they worked together when they sat on the  Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations for their respective chambers.

“We’re not unfamiliar with each other and we’ll probably have a lot more dealings with each other in the future,” McConnell said. 

Pelosi, the current House minority leader, is expected to make a bid to serve as the next Speaker, although it remains to be seen if she’ll have enough votes to win the position. Many Democratic candidates said during the campaign they wanted someone new.

Pelosi previously served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011.

Speaking at a rally Tuesday night, Pelosi said the country has had "enough division."  

"We will have accountability and strive for bipartisanship," she said. "We must try." 

McConnell said infrastructure was an issue where he and Pelosi may be able to find common ground, but he predicted the areas of legislation cooperation would be limited. 

“The one issue that Leader Pelosi and I discussed this morning, where there could be a possible bipartisan agreement, is something on infrastructure,” he said. 

Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House later Wednesday, identified infrastructure as a possible subject of future bipartisan negotiations. 

“We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure,” the president said.  

Trump said he had a "very warm conversation" with Pelosi after it became clear that Democrats would take over the House. 

In the lame-duck session scheduled for December, McConnell said the Republican priorities are to finish the farm bill and the bills funding the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and other federal agencies, as well as foreign aid.

But McConnell downplayed the likelihood of reaching a bipartisan agreement on legislation to deal with illegal immigrants who were covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump rescinded last year.

“Oh my goodness,” McConnell said when asked about a DACA compromise with Democrats. “I can’t imagine with all the things that we have to do here to wrap up this Congress that we would revisit immigration.” 

The GOP leader said he would work to help the president “with regard to the wall and border security,” noting “that will obviously have to be done on some kind of bipartisan discussion.”

But he added that he didn’t want to risk a government shutdown over border wall fight. 

“Hopefully we’ll not be headed down that path,” he said.

Asked whether his ability to work with Pelosi on infrastructure and other issues would be affected by House Democrats possibly conducting aggressive investigations of the Trump administration, McConnell said, “No, I don’t think so.”