Well, that didn't take long.
Any hope for Congress to reconvene with a sense of bipartisanship was erased pretty quickly on Wednesday morning as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sharply criticized the announcement of a new climate deal between the United States and China.
McConnell made his comments during a morning coffee with 10 new Republican senators in his office off the Senate floor. As his new colleagues stood beaming, McConnell was asked by a pack of reporters if he planned to shift the Senate to the political middle in hopes of reaching accord with President Obama and Democrats.
"The president continues to send a signal that he has no intention of moving toward the middle," McConnell said. "I was particularly distressed by the deal he's reached with the Chinese on his current trip, which, as I read the agreement, it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years, while these carbon emission regulations are creating havoc in my state and other states across the country."
McConnell's home state of Kentucky is heavily dependent on its coal industry and he made his criticisms of the Obama administration's carbon emission and climate change policies central themes of his reelection campaign.
"I would welcome the president moving to the middle," he added. "I've said before I hope we can do some business on trade and maybe tax reform. First indications have not been helpful."
McConnell said he was especially pleased to see such a large class of incoming Republican senators and noted that two more may soon join up once results are finalized in Alaska and Louisiana.
He said the scene was much more encouraging than during the lame-duck session of 2006, when Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was the only GOP senator elected that year. That made Corker "the president, Vice President, secretary and treasurer" of the Republican incoming class that year, McConnell quipped.
As reporters remained outside McConnell's office after the brief photo opportunity, Sen.-elect Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the only incoming Democratic senator, sneaked by on his way to a similar meeting with Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). Appearing lost, Peters asked a Washington Post reporter directions to Reid's office off the Senate chamber.