Trump invites moderate Dems to WH for shutdown meeting — but some decline

Blue Dog Coalition leaders Lou Correa and Stephanie Murphy will not attend

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., is rejecting an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday to discuss border security and how to end the partial government shutdown, saying he'd be happy to talk once government is reopen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has invited some more moderate House Democrats to the White House Tuesday to discuss border security and how to end the partial government shutdown, but at least two of the invited members do not plan to attend. 

Trump’s official schedule for Tuesday lists a 12:30 p.m. meeting with unnamed members of Congress. The  White House has not announced other details.

The invites have gone out to more moderate members of the Democratic Caucus, according to congressional sources. The White House did not respond to a request for a list of invitees. 

One source said the meeting appeared to be put together last minute and various members were getting invited on an hourly basis Monday evening. 

Two of the members who’ve confirmed they were invited, Blue Dog Coalition Co-chairs Lou Correa of California and Stephanie Murphy of Florida, do not plan to attend.

“Congressman Correa welcomes the opportunity to talk with the President about border security, as soon as the government is reopened,” a Correa spokesman said, noting his boss is declining the invitation to the White House.

Murphy cannot attend due to an organizing meeting for the House Ways and Means Committee occurring at the same time. Murphy, who was appointed to the prestigious panel last week, will receive her subcommittee assignments at that meeting. 

“I have attended meetings with the President at the White House before, but a scheduling conflict prevented me from accepting this invitation,” Murphy said in a statement. “However, I continue to believe the Senate should pass and the President should sign the bills reopening government that the House already passed. As a former national security specialist at the Pentagon, I look forward to having a meaningful, bipartisan discussion about the best way to secure our country.”

The White House's attempt to reach out to moderate Democrats comes as House Democratic leaders are planning votes this week on two stopgap spending bills designed to appeal to centrist Republicans. 

The House will first vote Tuesday on a continuing resolution to reopen the government through Feb. 8 under suspension of the rules. The fast-track process requires two-thirds support for passage, which means 54 Republican votes would be needed if all Democrats vote for it and there are no absences.

Then on Thursday the House will vote on a continuing resolution lasting through Feb. 28. That measure will be brought up under a rule and thus only require a simple majority for passage. 

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