President Barack Obama plans to meet with several Republican senators for dinner on Wednesday, March 6, as part of his effort to revive talks to tackle the nation’s long-term deficit, a congressional aide confirmed, according to Reuters.
The Democratic president is trying to cobble together what he calls a “common sense caucus” among lawmakers to help resolve U.S. budget woes and push his legislative agenda. He is scheduled to travel to Capitol Hill next week, when he will address Senate Republicans at a lunch on March 14.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the lunch will be an opportunity to discuss budget and economic issues.
A source, who asked not to be identified, said Obama also plans to meet with House of Representatives Democrats next week, although the date has not yet been set.
It was not clear when Wednesday’s meeting, which has not been confirmed by the White House, would take place, with the federal government shut down as Washington faced heavy snow forecasts. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had no further details.
In recent days, Obama has searched for common ground with senators who in the past have indicated a willingness to compromise on budget issues. The White House on Sunday suggested talks could center around a broad budget deal that includes new tax revenues as well as reforms to entitlement programs. These include the Medicare health care program for the elderly and disabled and Social Security retirement benefits – programs that are rapidly growing in cost as the population ages.