That’s not to say they didn’t appreciate the personal touches — gentle banter, praise for some of their ideas and handshakes all around afterward — but the president’s rare meeting with House Republicans in the basement of the Capitol yielded little in the way of movement on either side of the partisan divide. It’s the first time the president has met with the House GOP since 2011.
Obama still won’t take any big risks on entitlement reform unless Republicans agree to raise taxes again, he declined to say whether he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and he still won’t slash discretionary spending. Within a couple of hours of leaving the Capitol, Obama issued a threat to veto a job-training bill championed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
So much for the bipartisan note Obama struck in his closing remarks. Or, as some House Republicans concluded as they shuffled out of the meeting room: Meet the new president, same as the old president.
“I heard what the president had to say. I’ve heard it before,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has had his share of failed negotiations with the White House. “I thought it was good for all of our members to hear it, so they have an understanding of where he’s coming from. We’ve got big problems in our country — they need to be addressed, we’re willing to get them addressed. I hope the president continues his outreach.”
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