Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took to Twitter on Wednesday to lash out at Republicans for turning down President Barack Obama’s invitation to meet Thursday to map out priorities for the lame-duck session.
“With millions of ppl looking 4 work, there’s no time 2 waste. My GOP colleagues should have accepted the President’s offer 2 meet this week,” Reid tweeted.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the White House on Tuesday they needed to postpone because of scheduling conflicts. Aides said GOP leaders were also miffed that Obama announced the bipartisan, bicameral meeting before clearing the date with lawmakers.
The meeting is now rescheduled for Nov. 30. Attendees will include Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Boehner, Reid and McConnell, as well as a handful of others.
McConnell took to the Senate floor on Wednesday and had a different take on the meeting change. He did not mention the criticisms of Republicans for asking for the meeting to be postponed.
He said he was looking forward to the meeting and the opportunity to talk about areas where the parties agree, before listing job growth, clean coal technology and nuclear energy, and reducing spending and the debt.
“We can work together on all of those items, and the White House meeting is a good opportunity for Congressional Democrats to join us on these efforts” McConnell said.
In his remarks, the Kentucky Republican also attacked Senate Democrats for what he claimed was a focus on inconsequential issues during the lame-duck session instead of dealing with extending tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs downplayed the significance of Republicans delaying their first post-election meeting with the president. He told reporters Wednesday that it would be “premature” to call the meeting’s postponement a failure since the meeting is still on track to happen.
“In a sense, we’ve met the first test of being able to work together,” Gibbs said. “Bipartisanship has happened. We agreed that it was inconvenient to have the meeting when we originally set it.”
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.