President Barack Obama has invited House Republican leaders to the White House for lunch Wednesday, just as the House prepares to take up the first major spending bill of the 112th Congress.
Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) are all slated to attend.
“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,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced the lunch Tuesday at a press briefing.
“I don’t know that they’ve set out that many plates, but I know the president’s looking to a productive [lunch],” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said the president would be discussing foreign and domestic issues.
“Obviously, without a doubt there’ll be, I think, a heavy discussion on the economy — and on spending,” Gibbs said. “And I think the president will have a chance to talk ... with them [about] many of the things that he outlined in the State of the Union. And I have no doubt that they have their cares and concerns as well.”
Gibbs also said Obama met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for lunch Friday — a meeting that was not listed on either of their public schedules.
"I don't think it's a weekly thing," he said. "I think the president, as you heard him say at the beginning of the lame-duck session, that we needed to do better to reach out and have those discussions. And I think this is certainly part of that."
Gibbs said to expect more White House meetings with lawmakers "over the course of the next many weeks."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.