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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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November 19th, 2014
06:06 PM ET

Senator: Obama's move 'will poison the well on immigration'

(CNN) – President Obama is expected to take executive action on immigration Wednesday, and what little is known about what he intends to say tomorrow night already has Republicans up in arms.

The President wants to eliminate the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants, specifically for parents of legal residents, a move that could impact more than 3.5 million people.

In a video posted to Facebook announcing his pending announcement, Obama encouraged lawmakers to keep working to find a compromise on the larger issue of immigration.

The President's decision to go it alone, for now, risks waving "a red flag in front of a bull," as the Senate Republican leader put it. The move could anger Republicans already not inclined to look up the President favorably, perhaps ruining any hope for any cooperation over the last two years of his presidency.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, says Obama's action on immigration will not shut down future cooperation on other issues, but said the move could have a negative impact on the issue at hand.

"I don't think that it will poison the well. But what does worry me is that it will poison the well on immigration, and we have to get our broken immigration fixed," Ayotte said.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, emphasized inaction from House Republicans, noting that Obama is moving on the Senate's immigration bill, which received bipartisan support.

"It may not have been perfect, but I wish the House would come back with something. Other presidents have acted on immigration through executive order, President Reagan, President Bush," said Warner.

Whatever Obama does, Warner says he hopes that there will be some "phase-in time."

"Hopefully that will spur the House into action so that we could, at the end of the day, get it fixed legislatively," he said.

Warner and Ayotte recently co-authored a chapter for the new book "Moneyball for Government." The book argues that government needs to take a more data-driven approach and steer money towards programs that are proven to work.

"We spend less than $1 on every (hundred federal dollars) really evaluating what works and what doesn't work. So, Kelly and I have said we're going to roll up our sleeves, do the hard work of looking at actual program effectiveness," said Warner.

Ayotte says the annual GAO report identifies several wasteful and redundant programs where Republicans and Democrats can work together using this "Moneyball" approach.

The initial work is already done, she says. "We've just got to take this up and get things done, and base our decisions based on metrics, data, and are these programs getting results for the American people?"

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