- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday that he’s been “perplexed” by what he called an “in-your-face, dramatic move to the left” President Obama has adopted in the wake of the Democratic party’s losses in the 2014 midterm elections.

Mr. McConnell said he and the president don’t have any personal problems, pointing out a number of bipartisan deals he’s been party to, notably the fix to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the end of 2012 he negotiated with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“There is, however, a deep philosophical difference,” he said at the annual Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “You look at the way the president’s reacted to what could only be described as a butt-kicking election. Maybe you could explain away us winning red states with Senate races — how do you explain the governor of Maryland, the governor of Massachusetts, the governor of Illinois?”

Republicans did indeed manage to re-take control of the U.S. Senate in the midterms and made inroads in state-level races in the traditionally blue states Mr. McConnell mentioned.

“By any objective standard, the president got crushed in this election,” said the Kentucky Republican, who won re-election this year. “So I’ve been perplexed by the reaction since the election, [a] sort of in-your-face, dramatic move to the left, so I don’t know what we can expect in terms of reaching bipartisan agreements.”

Mr. Obama has infuriated Republicans since the election by announcing executive actions to grant legal status to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants in the country. His administration has also moved on the issue of the environment, coming to an agreement with China on reducing carbon emissions and issuing new ozone rules designed to cut pollution.

Mr. McConnell has pledged, among other things, to rein in regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency he and other Republicans blast as job killers.

Mr. McConnell did say Tuesday he sees the potential for agreement on trade and comprehensive tax reform, though he said Mr. Obama wants a “trillion dollar ransom” in the way of revenues to do tax reform — something he said Republicans will not agree to.

“[We] certainly need to do it, want to do it, but we are not going to, under any circumstances, give this administration a trillion dollars more in revenue as a condition for doing” so, he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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