McConnell Leaves Defunding Obama's Immigration Executive Actions On The Table

But noted President Obama has a big trump card: veto.

WASHINGTON — The soon-to-be leader of the Senate said Tuesday he wouldn't rule out trying to defund any executive action President Barack Obama takes in relation to the country's immigration system.

"It's always appropriate to use the power of the purse," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will take over as majority leader in January. "But it's important to remember that the president has an important trump card. It's called the veto pen."

McConnell added negotiations will be "ongoing" this year and next to keep the government funded. Both McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested keeping the government open was a top priority.

According to several reports, Obama's executive action will affect as many as five million undocumented immigrants.

House Republicans have already floated plans to defund such an order — whether they'll seek to do that by threatening another government shutdown, a separate legislative maneuver, or by other means remains unclear.

"Just because the American people elected divided government doesn't mean they don't expect us to do anything," McConnell said.