President Barack Obama has invited Congressional Democratic and Republican leaders to the White House on Nov. 18 to discuss plans for Congress’ lame-duck session.
During brief remarks after a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Obama said he invited Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to meet with him during the first week of the lame duck, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 15.'
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said later that others in the meeting will include House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Gibbs added that Obama's huddle with Congressional leaders is likely to be “the first of many.”
The president told his team that “we have to take that message” that voters sent on Election Day to heart, and that his Cabinet would be “integral in assisting him.” Attendees at Thursday's Cabinet meeting included Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and economic adviser Lawrence Summers.
Obama said he planned to talk to Congressional leaders about “what we can get done in the lame duck” and emphasized that the meeting is “not just going to be a photo-op.”
He ticked off a number of items that he wants addressed during the session, including an extension of middle-class tax cuts and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which he said is the kind of thing that “traditionally has gotten bipartisan support.”
In addition to meeting with Congressional leaders, Obama said he also invited newly elected governors to the White House on Dec. 2. That meeting will focus on the “nuts and bolts stuff” that “oftentimes yields the kind of common-sense approach” to issues the public is looking for, he said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.