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Obama, Senate Republicans To Meet

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill next week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday.

McConnell said in a news release the lunch meeting, set for March 14, was requested by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

“We have numerous challenges facing the country and Republicans have offered the president serious solutions to shrink Washington spending and grow the economy,” McConnell said.

Obama, who last attended a Senate Republican Policy Lunch May 25, 2010, has invited a group of GOP senators to dinner Wednesday evening at a hotel near the White House. CNN and NBC News reported the list of invited senators includes Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, John McCain of Arizona, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and John Hoeven of North Dakota.

“I’m glad the president is doing it,” McCain told CNN. “I think it’s very helpful we have continued discussions.”

Graham said, “When he reaches out we’ve got to reach back.”

Mike Sommers, chief of staff to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Boehner’s office has received a White House request for a meeting between Obama and House Republicans, and was “working to schedule that meeting,” CNN said. A House Democratic leadership aide said the president has requested a meeting with House Democrats.

The meetings — intended to discuss spending, immigration and gun control — follow a series of telephone calls from Obama to congressional leaders as across-the-board federal spending cuts go into effect.

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