Posted: 4:02 pm Friday, December 19th, 2014
By Jamie Dupree
While noting his differences with Republicans on a series of issues, President Obama used a year-end news conference to make clear that he’s ready to make some deals with the GOP Congress in 2015.
“I think there are real opportunities to get things done in Congress,” the President told reporters, though he made clear he wasn’t ready to give the GOP just anything.
“The question is going to be, are we going to be able to separate out those areas where we disagree,” as Mr. Obama rattled off reasons why he’s opposed to plans to undermine his signature health law, water down the Wall Street Reform law and to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
“It’s not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers,” the President said of the controversial pipeline proposal from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Mr. Obama though did not expressly threaten a veto against the Keystone XL, which Republicans may quickly try to get to this desk in the New Year.
On other matters, the President defended his executive actions on immigration, as his move this week to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba, saying it could help chip away at the Castro regime’s hold on that nation.
“Change is going to come to Cuba,” the President told reporters. “It has to.”
Meanwhile in Congress, the divisions within the Republican Party broke out into the open on Friday, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) used Twitter to criticize Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for opposing any changes in the way the United States deals with Cuba.
Senator @marcorubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014
The irony that Paul was knocking another Republican for “isolationism” was not lost on many in Washington, D.C., as that charge has often been lobbed at Paul, and his father Ron Paul.
A day earlier, Rubio had told Fox News that Paul had “no idea what he’s talking about.”
It may be just a preview of the battling to come in 2015 for those Republicans looking to run for the White House – and looking to leave an imprint on the 114th Congress.
The new House and Senate will convene on January 6.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.