Obama, Ryan to Lunch Tuesday at White House

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House expects President Barack Obama and the Republican House and Senate leaders on Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from taxes to criminal justice to national security.  

Obama is scheduled to meet privately with Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later, he and Ryan will have a one-on-one lunch meeting. It will be Obama’s first private meeting with Ryan since the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee became speaker in late October. Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the trio should discuss several matters on which they appear to agree. That list includes a sweeping trade pact Obama’s administration negotiated with Asian countries, battling the heroin epidemic, and authorizing the fight against the Islamic State.  

Also expected to be on the agenda are potential changes to the country’s tax code — specifically, the earned income tax credit — and what to do about the Puerto Rico financial crisis, Earnest said.  

Ryan and McConnell will meet with Obama late tomorrow morning before the president and speaker lunch privately, Earnest told reporters.  

One issue that was widely labeled a potential area for consensus this year was criminal justice overhaul legislation. Both parties continue to call it a priority, but so far, a single bill both could support has yet to surface on Capitol Hill.  

On an Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS, McConnell has brought up a draft bill supported by Senate Armed Services Committee member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a former 2016 presidential hopeful.  

But Graham has supported an AUMF that would give the president almost unlimited powers to fight the violent extremist group. Last February, Obama sent up a version that limited the kinds of U.S. troops that could be deployed and would slap restrictions on the kinds of missions they could carry out.  


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