Pelosi and Obama to Huddle at 3 p.m.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is heading to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss his decision on a strategy for the war in Afghanistan, among other issues.The two will meet at 3 p.m. to discuss “the president’s top legislative priorities,— according to a White House spokesman. Beyond Afghanistan, other topics likely to be discussed include jobs and the economy.After months of taking heat from Republicans over his delays in laying out a plan, Obama is expected to announce on Dec. 1 how he will proceed in Afghanistan — and whether the strategy includes a troop increase. Obama will need to win the support of Pelosi, who has said for months that House Democrats lack the appetite to send tens of thousands more troops into the war-torn region. Last week, key Democrats including Appropriations Chairman David Obey (Wis.), Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (Mass.) banded together in opposition to the war and proposed a largely symbolic “war tax— to make all Americans share the costly burden. Obama’s announcement on his strategy is expected to be followed by Capitol Hill visits from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, and U.S. ambassador to the country Karl Eikenberry, who are expected to testify before key Congressional panels. The House Armed Services Committee for months has been unsuccessfully pressing Obama to allow McChrystal to testify before the committee.News of Obama’s announcement only fueled Republicans insistence that McChrystal be made available.“Considering this hearing is long overdue, I will work closely— with Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) “and the administration to schedule a hearing … at the first practicable moment, which will hopefully be in the days following the decision,— ranking member Howard McKeon (R-Calif.) said.McKeon said everyone is “anxious to hear directly from the president and his battlefield commander on the way forward in Afghanistan. Any further delay would be a disservice to all of these parties, especially our troops and their families.—Republicans continue to urge Obama to develop a strategy based on McChrystal’s recommendations. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday that many in his party will base their response to Obama’s proposal on McChrystal’s reaction. Other factors that are key to GOP support are a counterinsurgency component and recognition that Pakistan “is an increasing threat that will have to be dealt with,— Cantor said. Above all, McChrystal’s opinion is “the most important,— he said.Jackie Kucinich contributed to this report.