Bill Daley, Obama's former chief of staff, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" in a separate interview that he's optimistic the president and Republicans can work together. "I think there is a window here between now and probably the fall before the presidential campaign really takes over to get something done."
Speaking highly of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the likely majority leader in the new Congress, Daley said the Kentucky Republican will want to get things done.
But Daley, a former Commerce secretary and JPMorgan executive committee member, did warn that not all Republicans see eye-to-eye on issues like immigration, pointing out that the Senate had passed a bipartisan bill that the House refused to bring up. "They've got to within the Republican Party reconcile before they even go to Democrats." He's currently head of U.S. operations at Swiss hedge fund Argentière Capital.
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Meanwhile, Barrasso highlighted issues the GOP hopes to push forward, including exporting liquefied natural gas and getting the long-stalled Keystone oil pipeline approved. Republicans also want to strip out the "most harmful parts of the president's health care law."
Besides serving as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, he's a member of the Energy Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.