GOP to Party With Obama After Stimulus Vote

Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:40pm

House Republicans are planning to stick it to President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats on Wednesday by voting en bloc against the $825 economic stimulus bill, but that doesn’t mean they can’t party together afterward. About 25 Congressional leaders and their spouses are invited to a bipartisan, bicameral reception at the White House Wednesday with the president and first lady. The event is 7:30-9 p.m., which means Hill leaders will be heading over immediately after the House votes on the stimulus package. Aides said the White House event is an open house for Hill leaders and their spouses to mingle with the Obamas. One GOP leadership aide wasn’t sure why the event was being held, speculating that it’s “probably having to do with post-partisanship Obama wants to encourage.” Obama has been working hard to get Republicans on board with the stimulus bill, his first real test for bringing the parties together on a major initiative in Congress. But his efforts appear to have fizzled in the House, where GOP leaders continue to rail against the amount of spending in the bill. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who on Tuesday urged his Conference to oppose the measure just hours before Obama came to the Hill to ask for GOP support, “does plan to stop by” the Obama reception, according to his aides. House Republican Policy Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), another outspoken critic of the bill, also plans to attend. But House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.), who on Tuesday blasted Democratic promises of bipartisanship on the stimulus bill as “hollow,” can’t make the reception because of a scheduling conflict, according to his aides. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) plans to attend with his wife, who came into town specifically for the soiree. Other House Democratic leaders could not be reached to confirm whether they would be attending. Over in the Senate, Republican leaders planning to attend include Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), the Nos. 2 and 3 leaders, respectively. All of Senate Democratic leadership plans to attend. This includes Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.)