The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 24, 2013

White House's outreach to GOP pays modest dividends

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

By contrast, Obama called Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to thank her for her work on the Senate Democrats' budget blueprint.

"This is not a week where they are going to pick up the phone and call House Republicans," Van Hollen said, referring to White House officials.

"After a week of constructive meetings, the president and his senior team have continued conversations with members," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage wrote in an e-mail, adding: "That outreach will continue."

Van Hollen said that one of the inherent challenges is that House GOP leaders are willing to engage with Obama only in a public context — such as during a budget conference — for fear of alienating their rank-and-file members.

Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., for example, said he hesitated for a moment when the White House called him Feb. 25 as he was sitting at Piccadilly Cafe in Norfolk, Va. to ask whether he wanted to travel to Hampton Roads, Va. with the president aboard Air Force One.

"I had to do two hours of thinking in about four of five seconds," Rigell said, knowing he would come under attack from conservatives for having a private talk with the president. "I just went, 'Oh my, here we go.' But it was a good conversation, I'm glad we had it."

Rigell, who said he told Obama it was urgent to cut federal spending, said the discussion did not transform his relationship with the White House.

"I'd love to say we're text messaging back and forth. That is not happening," he said, adding he hasn't heard from the administration since. "I do feel if I needed to reach out, I could do that."

Sen. Ronald Johnson, R-Wis., who had dinner with the president and 11 other Republicans at the Jefferson Hotel on March 6, said Obama made a point of telling the group that Americans don't realize they get $3 back for every dollar they pay into the federal entitlement system. But the president needs to do more than acknowledge it privately, Johnson said: "He needs to start honestly telling the American people how serious the problem is."

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video