President Barack Obama may be a world away from Washington, but he is still planning his strategy for working around a Republican Congress on immigration reform and other issues, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during a press briefing in Myanmar.
The president is near a "final decision" on his executive order on immigration reform, Earnest said, and also cited Obama's climate change deal as another example of how the president is pursuing his agenda without Congress, reports CNN.
But Obama will face a fight with his plans to enact immigration reform that could last for far longer than the end of the year. His reform measures include deferring deportation for undocumented children, which could help as many as 5 million people.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is expected to become the Senate majority leader after the first of the year, calls the president's plans a "poison pill" that can damage relations as the GOP takes over both chambers of Congress.
McConnell's threat, though, is being laughed off by White House officials, including Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer, who said "repealing Obamacare is also a poison pill."
Meanwhile, administration officials believe the United States will be able to meet the agreement on climate change, saying another of Obama's executive decisions concerning raising fuel efficiency standards for vehicles will come into play, as well as new rules for tougher power plant emissions.
But McConnell said the agreement requires the Chinese to do nothing for 16 years, while the regulations cause havoc in his state, which is highly dependent on its coal industry, and on other states in the country.
Other key Republicans are also speaking out against the climate change agreement, including House Speaker John Boehner,
who warned Obama was waging a "crusade" against affordable energy with the pact.
"This announcement is yet another sign that the president intends to double down on his job-crushing policies no matter how devastating the impact for America's heartland and the country as a whole," Boehner said. "It is the latest example of the president's crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families."
Earnest also suggested in the press conference that Obama is taking a "dim view" of Republicans' plans to push for completion of the long-contested Keystone XL oil pipeline.
He would not say if Obama will veto the legislation, however, and White House officials say the president is interested in working with Republicans on other common interests.
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