"Now, at the same time, obviously what's going to be critically important over the coming months is creating a better working relationship between this White House and the congressional leadership that's coming in, as well as the congressional leadership that carries over from the previous Congress. And so I want everybody to know that I have already called Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to invite them to a meeting here at the White House in the first week of the lame duck on November 18th. This is going to be a meeting in which I'll want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people's agenda forward. It's not just going to be a photo op. Hopefully -- it may spill over into dinner. And the immediate focus is going to be what we need to get done during the lame-duck session. . .
"Most of all, they worried that what some have called the Europeanization of America would continue unchecked, and that, as a result, our children and grandchildren could no longer expect to have the same opportunities that we've had. Two days ago, those worries gave way to a new optimism. For the past two years, Democrat lawmakers chose to ignore the American people, so on Tuesday the American people chose new lawmakers. They held their elected representatives to account. And they demonstrated to all of us that Constitutional conservatism is alive and well.
"This isn't a reason for Republicans to gloat; rather, it's a time for both parties to realize who's really in charge -- the people -- and to be grateful for the opportunity we now have to begin to turn this ship around. Tuesday was a referendum, not a choice. It was a report card on the administration and anyone who supported its agenda, plain and simple. It doesn't take a roomful of political scientists to figure it out. Americans voted for change in the last two elections because of two long and difficult wars and because they hoped a changing of the guard would stabilize the economy and get America moving again. And then the people they elected set about dismantling the free market, handing out political favors at taxpayer expense, expanding government, and creating a more precarious future for our children. In other words, Democrat leaders used the crisis of the moment to advance an agenda Americans didn't ask for and couldn't afford. And then they ignored and dismissed anyone who dared to speak out against it. . .
"Which raises a practical question: what can Americans expect from Republicans now? Let's start with the big picture. Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office. But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won't veto any of these things. We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday's election. But we can't plan on it. And it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen. There's just no getting around it.
"By their own admission, leaders of the Republican Revolution of 1994 think their greatest mistake was overlooking the power of the veto. They gave the impression they were somehow in charge when they weren't. And after President Clinton vetoed their bills, making it impossible for them to accomplish all their goals, they ended up being viewed as failures, sellouts, or both. Today, Democrats not only have the White House. They have the Senate too. So we have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation. . .
"Through oversight we'll also keep a spotlight on the various agencies the administration will now use to advance through regulation what it can't through legislation. Potential backdoor efforts in this area could include imposing a new national energy tax through the EPA now that cap-and-trade is dead, additional health care provisions through HHS, Card Check through the National Labor Relations Board, and some form of immigration change through the use of administrative amnesty and the selective enforcement of our laws. Good oversight can also make more accountable all the policy czars the administration has installed without any accountability to Congress or the American people. . .
"We will stop the liberal onslaught. We will make the case for repeal of the health spending bill even as we vote to eliminate its worst parts. We will vote to freeze and cut discretionary spending. We will fight to make sure that any spending bill that reaches the Senate floor is amendable, so members can vote for the spending cuts Americans are asking for. We will push to bring up and vote for House passed spending rescission bills. On the economy, we will work hard to ensure Democrats don't raise taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession. We will loudly oppose future stimulus bills that only stimulate the deficit and fight any further job-killing regulations. We will fight tooth and nail on behalf of Americans struggling to find and create jobs.
"And when it comes to educating the public about the effects of Democrat legislation, we will fulfill our constitutional duty to oversee the Executive Branch through smart, aggressive oversight. We will scrutinize Democrat legislation and force them to defend it. And we will continue to make the case that the Democrats' big-government vision hinders freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and that while it may benefit some in the short-term, it exposes everyone to calamity down the road.. .
". . .whether or not the administration has a mid-course correction, Republicans have a plan for following through on the wishes of the American people. It starts with gratitude and a certain humility for the task we've been handed. It means sticking ever more closely to the conservative principles that got us here. It means learning the lessons of history. And, above all, it means listening to the people who sent us here. If we do all this, we will finish the job."
Access the full text of Senator McConnell speech (click here). Access a video of Sen. McConnell's speech (click here). Access the full text of the President's comments and press conference Q&A yesterday (click here). Access the full text of the President's comments following today's press briefing (click here).