The president reached out Tuesday to the Republican members of the Senateís immigration working group, including Graham.
Indeed, the White House has already begun crafting its own bill. Carney said a leak of details of the White Houseís own immigration bill this weekend was not intentional. He said the administration prefers and hopes a bipartisan deal emerges from the Senate.
Carney had earlier struggled to explain why Obama hasnít picked up the phone or met with GOP leaders this year to try to resolve the dispute over automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, amid broader questions about the administrationís congressional relations.
Congressional Republicans have been peeved by the White Houseís campaigning across the country instead of sitting down to negotiate.
Carney, asked repeatedly Tuesday why the president has not called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not give a direct answer, instead throwing up a vague response that the administration is interacting with Congress on a range of issues.
As for meeting with GOP leaders on the sequester, Carney said, ďThe President has made clear his door is open. What weíve heard from the Republicans thus far is a categorical refusal, at least at the leadership level, to accept the basic principle that balance is necessary.Ē
Pressed further, Carney added, ďThe problem here isnít a lack of meetings around the table in the Roosevelt Room or the Cabinet Room.Ē He noted that in the past Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio has been the one who pulled out of talks on budget issues.
Shortly thereafter, via Twitter, spokesmen for McConnell and Boehner tweeted to Buzzfeedís Zeke Miller that the president hadnít spoken to their bosses this year or since the inauguration, respectively.
Carney later in the briefing would neither confirm nor deny meetings between leaders and the president this year.
ďIím not suggesting anything about whatís happening now. Iím just saying that we donít always read out every conversation or meeting we have with members of Congress,Ē he said. ďAnd in taking that approach, weíre mindful of the requests of others as well as our own interests.Ē
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.