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White House

 

« Strategy Memo: Obama On The Hill | Blog Home Page | As Negotiations Continue, Moderates To Meet At White House »

GOP Leaders Meet With Obama

President Obama and GOP House leadership just emerged from a more-than one hour meeting at the Capitol to discuss their differences on the economic stimulus package.

In brief remarks after the meeting, both Obama and the GOP leaders said they appreciated each other's efforts at bipartisanship while recognizing no deal could ever make everyone on both sides happy.

"I continue to be optimistic," Obama said. "I recognize that we're not going to get 100 percent support. But I think everybody there felt good about that I was willing to explain how we put the package together, how we were thinking about it, and that we continued to welcome some good ideas."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said they would continue to work on their ideas in regards to the bill, despite the fact that the House Democrats' version is coming to a vote tomorrow.

"The most encouraging statement that I think the president made today was the fact that he had no pride of authorship in this bill," Cantor said. "We take that to mean that tomorrow's vote is only the first step in the process."

Conference chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) lashed out at House Democrats for not including Republicans in the formulation of the package.

"As grateful as we are for the president's spirit, as I told him personally, House Democrats have completely ignored the president's call for bipartisan cooperation," Pence said. "The bill that is scheduled to come to the floor this week will come to the floor without any consultation among House Republicans, and with categorical opposition to the kind of Republican solutions that we believe are necessary to truly get this economy moving again."

Speaking to reporters at the same time Obama was meeting with Republican leaders, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) responded to questions regarding Republicans calling out the Democrats for not including them.

"It's hard to take the advice and counsel on policies from people who put us deep in debt," Hoyer said. "Being bipartisan does not mean you lay down and say you can have whatever you want."

Asked if he expects any Republican votes tomorrow, Hoyer said: "I hope. Expect would be too strong."

Before entering his meeting with Senate Republican leadership just after his meeting on the House side, Obama spoke briefly with reporters again. "The key right now is to make sure that we keep politics to a minimum," he said. "There are some legitimate philosophical differences with parts of my plan that the Republicans have, and I respect that."

--Kyle Trygstad and Mike Memoli