Raleigh, N.C. — State House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican U.S. senator-elect from North Carolina, spoke about immigration and the Islamic State during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" this weekend.
Along with Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat who will move from the House to the Senate, Tillis fielded questions from host Norah O'Donnell as part of a panel looking forward to the new Congress that begins in January, in which Republicans will keep control of the House and take over the Senate.
"The American people did not give Republicans a mandate, they gave us a chance," Tillis said when asked what North Carolina got for hosting what was the most expensive U.S. Senate campaign in the nation.
Tillis said he believed Republicans and Democrats could work together on issues such as preserving and fostering manufacturing jobs.
While Tillis spoke about the need to cooperate with Democrats, he also said that he hoped President Barack Obama would compromise as well, starting with his new nominee for secretary of Defense to succeed Chuck Hagel.
"I hope that the president puts forth someone who will work for both sides," Tillis said. "I think it's a great opportunity for the president to identify a consensus nominee."
He added that the candidate should be someone who can serve "both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue."
Tillis: President 'set us back' on immigration
"I think it would probably be wise," Tillis said. "That would be a show of good faith from the president, and it would give Congress confidence they are part of the process."
On immigration, Tillis was less optimistic.
"I'm afraid that the president's unilateral action is going to set us back," he said, referring to Obama's administrative orders that will allow some immigrants without proper documents to stay in the United States.
Tillis added that he thought the nation had to take "credible steps" to seal the border before taking other action on immigration.
But Peters said that, if Congress was unhappy with the president's action, the House should move forward with the immigration bill passed by the Senate this year, which won backing from both Republicans and Democrats.
"Instead of wringing their hands about presidential action, the Congress needs to act," Peters said.
Both Tillis and Peters are expected to be sworn in as members of the U.S. Senate on Jan. 14.