Day one of the new political reality in DC yielded words of cooperation from the White House and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with signals that the bipartisan friction wasn't magically going away. “I want you to know, I hear you," said President Obama, referring to the US electorate. But he said the message applied to Republicans as well, reports the New York Times. “The American people sent a message—one that they’ve sent for several elections now. ... They want us to get the job done.” Obama said he is "eager" to work with the GOP-controlled Congress, but emphasized that he remains ready to sidestep lawmakers on issues such as immigration and climate change through executive action, reports the Los Angeles Times.
On immigration, for instance, he said would make good on a promise to act before the end of the year. “My executive actions not only do not prevent them from passing a law that supersedes those actions, but should be a spur for them to actually try to get something done.” Earlier, McConnell struck a "bipartisan note," in the words of the Washington Post. "When the American people choose divided government, I don’t think it means they don’t want us to do anything,” he said. “We ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress for the country.” He promised there would be no government shutdowns or defaults on the national debt—but he also warned that executive action on immigration could seriously damage bipartisan relations.