Obama to Meet With Senate GOP Trio

Posted July 15, 2009 at 1:58pm

President Barack Obama on Wednesday afternoon will meet with three Republican Senators — Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.) — to discuss health care reform, according to a White House official. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., is an increasingly rare example of Obama meeting with Congressional Republicans, particularly in a gathering that does not include Democrats. The GOP Senators with whom Obama is meeting make an interesting group because none is a key participant in Senate health care negotiations.Obama on Monday held separate meetings with Congressional Democratic leaders and fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats on health care. Neither session included the GOP.Obama’s face time with Republicans has declined since his early days in office. Republicans and Obama have suggested the other is responsible for the now-rare moments of cooperation. But the president suggested Wednesday during a Rose Garden event that bipartisanship was still possible on health care reform. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved its version of a health care plan on a party-line vote Wednesday, and the House Democrats unveiled their version Tuesday.Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is hoping to bring Republicans onto his bill, but none of the three meeting with Obama this afternoon sits on the committee. Murkowski sits on the HELP panel.