Obama to Huddle With Hill Leaders Tuesday

Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:40pm

President Barack Obama will invite House and Senate leaders from both parties to the White House on Tuesday to talk about working together on jobs and the economy.

The meeting is the first of the monthly bipartisan leadership meetings Obama announced in his State of the Union last week.

Obama restated his call for bipartisanship in a Wednesday meeting with Senate Democrats. But he warned Republicans against complaining about their ideas not being considered when they have tried to block Democratic bills from passing.

“When I start hearing that we should accept Republican ideas, let’s be clear: We have. What hasn’t happened is the other side accepting our ideas,” Obama said. “We’ll call them out when they say they want to work with us and we extend a hand and get a fist in return.”

House Democrats praised Obama for trying to break through the partisan logjam with Republicans, although they seemed skeptical that his monthly meetings would actually lead to bipartisanship.

“It isn’t a hidden agenda for Republicans not to give him any successes; it’s their stated practical political imperative. That’s what they’ve been saying,” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said.

“So I hope it works. I think that there is some value politically in pointing out that the Republicans are not really here to be helpful. But I don’t think it’s going to get us many votes,” Weiner said.

Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) said it is “excellent” that Obama is trying to bring Republicans into the fray, but he said the monthly meetings may only serve to showcase how little GOP lawmakers are willing to work with his administration.

“Citizens can make their own judgment about the ‘Mr. No’ complex that Republicans generally have,” Conyers said.