Portman urges Obama to back off immigration plan

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Friday joined a growing chorus of Republicans who are urging President Barack Obama not to issue an executive order blocking the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.

In a conference call with Ohio reporters, Portman, R-Ohio, warned that it “would be a big mistake” for Obama to “go around” both Congress and American voters who last week gave control of the U.S. Senate to Republicans for the first time since 2006.

“Instead of trying to work with Congress to get something done with a new spirit of cooperation and I hope good faith … the president is just going to go around the elected representatives and say this is how it’s going to be,” Portman said.

“That doesn’t make any sense. It does poison the well in the sense it will be hard to work with him on immigration. It may be harder to work with him on other things.”

Obama has said he will take aggressive steps because the House has yet to move on a Senate-approved bill that overhauls the nation’s immigration laws and creates a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

During a news conference today in Myanmar, Obama said he has repeatedly said “that if in fact Congress failed to act, I would use all the lawful authority I possess to try to make the system work better.”

Portman also expressed hope that the Senate next week will approve a bill to permit construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry Canadian-produced oil from tar sands to the Gulf ports in the United States.

The House on Friday approved the pipeline, but the White House has signaled that Obama may veto the measure if the Senate approves the same measure.

Portman says the pipeline would create “a lot of jobs.”

“If we can pass Keystone Pipeline next week, that would be great,” he said, adding, “I don’t know if that will be possible or not or if the president would sign it.”

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