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Obama: Looking forward to Republican governing agenda, drinks with Mitch McConnell

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Posted at 1:25 PM, Nov 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-05 16:12:22-05

If there are ideas that the Republicans have that will make things better for ordinary Americans, the fact that it comes from a Republican rather than a Democrat will be irrelevant in the newly-elected Congress, President Obama stated the day after Republicans took the Senate majority for the first time in eight years.

Obama addressed the nation at 2:50 p.m. EST today, following yesterday's midterm elections.

After tight races in many states, Republicans now have majority control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2007.

"Today I had a chance to speak with John Boehner, and congratulate (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell on his win," Obama stated in his opening remarks.

"I look forward to finishing up this Congress' business, and look forward to working the next two years with Congress on America's business," Obama said.

"Obviously the Republicans had a very good night."

The President indicated that the American people sent a message: "They expect the people they elect to get the job done."

"I plan on spending every moment of the next two years doing my job the best that I can," Obama said.

The President indicated there are three things he wants to focus on with the current Congress:

Ebola, ISIL and Congress passing a budget to see the country through the fiscal year.

The president indicated he is committed to measure ideas not based on whether they're Democrat or Republican, but whether they work.

The President stated that he looks forward to working with the new Congress.

"I look forward to the Republicans putting forward their governing agenda," Obama said.

Obama also indicated he'd like to pass an executive action addressing immigration reform by the end of the year.

He indicated he'd welcome legislation, but that hasn't happened. 

"What we can't do is keep on waiting. There is a cost to waiting," Obama said.

The President lauded the five states that had the minimum wage on the ballot and passed measures for raising it, and indicated he hoped that was a step in the right direction toward an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Speaking of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Obama stated their interactions have always been cordial, and he'd "love to have a drink of Kentucky bourbon with him."

Also speaking Wednesday, November 5, of the possibility that congressional gridlock will worsen under Republican leadership, McConnell, of Kentucky, stated that "The current gridlock and dysfunction can be ended by having a Senate that actually works."

"We're going to function, we're going to pass legislation," McConnell said.

Regarding specific legislation his party might pursue with their new position, trade agreements were at the top of McConnell's list, and they are something he said he discussed with Obama.

"Most of his (Obama's) party is unenthusiastic about international trade, we (the GOP) think it's a winner for America," McConnell said. "The President has also indicated interest in doing tax reform."

When it comes down to it, McConnell said, "There's only one Democrat who counts: The President. The veto pen is a pretty big thing. The Democrats in Congress will support whatever he agrees to do."

Exit polls show that though voters may have cast a ballot, they weren't necessarily happy with the results. 

According to blog DecodeDC, the portrait of the American voter painted by the exit polls is gloomy. Do they trust the government to do the right thing “most” of the time? No, 78 percent do not, a huge margin.

Congress has a disapproval rating of 79 percent, dwarfing Obama’s negatives by more than 20 points. Both parties are in trouble: 53 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of the Democrats, 56 percent for the Republicans.