President Barack Obama is continuing his charm offensive on Thursday with a lunch with House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan at the White House.
Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee from Wisconsin, has been drafting a plan to balance the budget within a decade — a far more ambitious goal than his previous efforts — and has been one of the president’s sharpest critics.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the budget panel, will also attend.
The meals are part of an unprecedented — for Obama — outreach effort after several weeks aimed at pressuring the GOP on the sequester did not bear fruit and instead hit the president’s own approval ratings. Obama has made a number of calls in recent days to Republicans and Democrats, including to Ryan, as he tries to find a way out of the sequester and advance other key pieces of his agenda, including immigration and guns. He will meet next week with both parties in both chambers separately at the Capitol.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.