President Obama Set To Meet With House GOP Leaders
"They're involved in the responsibility of governing, and I think an exchange of ideas on the issues that we face are important," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at Tuesday's White House press briefing.
Gibbs said the meeting will include Speaker of the House John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. The focus is expected to be on the economy and spending, as well as the proposals President Obama laid out in his State of the Union speech two weeks ago.
House Republicans’ relationship with the president hasn’t been friendly over the past several years. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) led the charge against Obama’s agenda. Cantor on Tuesday said the November elections were a referendum on Obama, not a vote of confidence in the GOP.
The president has had little contact with House Republican leadership since the mid-term elections. He’s made a few phone calls, and he held one in-person meeting with Congressional leaders, but the lunch Wednesday will certainly be the most intimate affair thus far.
ABC News reports: "The lunch comes at a time when President Obama is seen as changing his tone. Yesterday, the president delivered a speech at the Chamber of Commerce as part of an effort to mend his relationship with big business. The president is also set to release his annual budget next week."
Cantor had some critical remarks for Obama on Tuesday after his speech to the Chamber of Commerce, but welcomed the invitation to sit down with the president.
"Hopefully this speaks to his willingness to focus on issues that the American people are telling us to focus on, which is jobs and the economy," Cantor told reporters.
Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel said: "Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said “the Speaker is pleased to have an opportunity to speak with the President about our plans to reduce economic uncertainly and create jobs by cutting spending and breaking down barriers to private sector investment.”
Gibbs also revealed at the press briefing that Obama met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over lunch on Friday, but did not give any details as to what the two discussed. A spokesperson for McConnell said: ""They had a nice lunch on Friday. There was no readout."