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Hullabaloo


Thursday, May 09, 2013

 
Outreach: the "where else are they going to go" strategy

by digby


This isnice. The White House chief of staff and Congressional budget committee head Paul Ryan, just hangin' out like a coupla spending cutters trying to figure out a way to cut the hell out of government. TipNRonnie would be proud:

On April 10, the day President Obama released his 2014 budget, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough held a secret meeting with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at a K Street restaurant, Brasserie Beck, to talk, among other things, about possible resolutions to the deficit reduction standoff.

As I report in this week’s TIME magazine, an article that is only available to magazine or tablet subscribers online, the meeting was productive, even if it produced no breakthroughs. “He’s a Minnesota Irish Catholic guy, and I’m a Wisconsin Irish Catholic guy,” Ryan told me, after the conversation. “It quickly dawned on me that we can work together.”

“It was the first time I have had a candid conversation or a substantial conversation with a member of the Obama administration since they came into power,” Ryan added.

The discussion, over beer, included talk about spending levels and paths to reaching a deal, but was not intended as a negotiating session. Rather it was part of a large scale outreach effort by the White House, coordinated by McDonough to increase communication between the White House and Congress, and between Democrats and Republicans.

Warms your heart, doesn't it? And he didn't stop here:

President Barack Obama played golf with senators on Monday and is having dinner with House Democratic leaders on Wednesday evening, but he's not the only one in the White House trying to build closer ties on Capitol Hill: his chief of staff Denis McDonough is, too.

McDonough was spotted by a HuffPost reader Monday night having dinner with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) at Lincoln Restaurant here. It turns out that dinner is just the latest in a string of one-on-one meetings McDonough has been having with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
[...]
Cantor spokesman Doug Heye later responded only that the dinner went well.

"The leader had a very enjoyable dinner with Denis McDonough and looks forward to more opportunities to keep lines of communication open," Heye said in a statement.

Robert Costa of the National Review tweeted earlier Wednesday that Cantor had just told him about the dinner, and said the two officials discussed tax reform, fiscal issues and White House-Republican relations.

I'm not sure who the Democratic members of congress have been since there's been zero reporting on that. But I'm sure there must be some right?

Still, the White House is pretty busy and they're pressed for time. No word back yet on this:

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Donna Edwards (D-MD) and John Conyers (D-MI), sent a letter to President Obama today requesting a meeting on the inclusion of chained CPI in his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal.

“We appreciate your ongoing efforts to negotiate with Congressional Republicans in a serious, thoughtful manner, despite their unwillingness to consider a balanced approach,” the authors write. “However, at a time when many Americans are still struggling, cutting Social Security benefits would take money directly out of the pockets of American seniors and slow our economic recovery.”

Yeah, ok. We'll get back to you.


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