Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly ruled out tackling immigration over the next two years on his chamber floor, saying President Obama poisoned the issue too badly with his executive actions and it will take a new president to rebuild an atmosphere of trust with lawmakers.
The declaration isn’t a surprise, though it contrasts with House Speaker John A. Boehner, who left the door open for possible action in answering a similar question last month.
But Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican said Mr. Obama’s executive deportation amnesty, which he waited until after the 2014 elections to announce, denying voters a chance to have a say on the policy, has ruined the chances to find middle ground on broader immigration issues.
“The atmosphere for dealing with that issue in the wake of what he did is not appropriate to get the kind of immigration reform that we probably need to address,” Mr. McConnell said. “Hopefully in the next Congress, where we’ll have, for sure, a different president.”
The Senate had been the place where big immigration legalization bills have started the last three times Congress has tackled the issue: in 2006, when the chamber cleared a bill; in 2007, when it tried but failed to pass one; and in 2013, when the latest effort passed the Senate, but Democratic leaders never sent it over to the House for action.