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McConnell optimistic immigration talks to produce result

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he is optimistic bipartisan negotiations on immigration, government funding and other issues will lead to results and strongly prefers an agreement before Feb. 8, when current funding for the government expires.

McConnell, a Republican, said in a Senate floor speech that a bipartisan, bicameral group was working on immigration, and he looked forward to seeing a promised White House framework on the matter next week. "I'm optimistic," he said, adding: "It is my strong preference that senators reach bipartisan agreement on these issues in advance of February 8."

McConnell restated his own pledge that if a long-term agreement by Feb. 8 eludes the Senate, the chamber will proceed to legislation on immigration and border security, as long as the government stays open.

(Reporting by Susan CornwellEditing by Chizu Nomiyama)