Obama is trying to grab some of the initiative, inviting the leadership to the White House the first week of the lame duck Congress, which begins Nov. 15. There is actual work to do. They are aiming to agree on an extension of the Bush tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year, before the new Congress is seated.
The pool was invited in to listen to Obama during his Cabinet meeting this morning. Here’s an excerpt from the report.
POTUS said he has invited Republican congressional leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to the White House during the first week of the lame duck session to talk about working together, focusing mainly on “what we can get done in the lame duck.”
It’s “not just going to be a photo-op,” POTUS promised.
POTUS listed off a number of economic issues that need to be addressed in Congress during the lame duck session, including an extension of the middle class tax cuts.
The government has “got to provide business some certainty,” POTUS said.
He also singled out the New START treaty as an important foreign policy priority he wants to see get done during the work period. He noted that the arms control treaty with Russia is the sort of thing that “traditionally has gotten bi-partisan support.”
POTUS also said he had invited the newly elected governors to the White House on Dec. 2. He said he looked forward to hearing from the governors about the “nuts and bolts stuff” that “oftentimes yields the kind of commonsense approach” Americans are looking for.
On his upcoming trip to Asia — he departs tomorrow for India — POTUS said “primary purpose” would be opening up markets. “The hope is we’ve got some specific announcements that show the connection” between what he is doing abroad and what is happening at home.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” POTUS concluded. “The American people don’t want us just standing still.”
“We can’t afford two years of just squabbling,” he said.