News / USA

Obama Continues 'Charm Offensive' on Capitol Hill

President Barack Obama, escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, right, waves as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington,  March 13, 2013.
President Barack Obama, escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, right, waves as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 13, 2013.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama continues his outreach efforts to lawmakers Thursday, visiting Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.  The president’s meetings have been received warmly so far, but sharp policy differences remain.
Obama meets with Senate Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives Thursday, in hopes of making progress toward resolving issues including immigration, gun control and the deficit.

After meeting with Republicans in the House of Representatives Wednesday, the president told a small group of supporters and donors he believes compromise is possible.  

“We are doing our very best to reach out to the other side, and I think there is a genuine desire on the part of Republicans and Democrats to try to get something done,” Obama said.

Obama spoke to about 75 members of Organizing for Action, a group which grew out of his re-election campaign.

He asked the group to help him support lawmakers who defy political opposition to his programs.

“The politics of a lot of these issues are tough, and members sometimes are scared about making the right decisions,” Obama said. "And they are particularly scared because they are subject to pressure from special interest groups and well-financed organizations that may be pushing in a different direction.”

Obama said many lawmakers in both parties are weary of the grinding political fights that have stopped progress on the issues.

Hours earlier, the president went to Capitol Hill for his first meeting in more than two years with House Republicans as a group.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, who is often Obama’s chief political opponent, called the meeting a good start.   

“I want to thank the president for coming to the Capitol today to visit with all of our members thought that we had a very frank and candid exchange of ideas, and frankly, I think it was productive,” Boehner said.

A White House statement called the meeting “a good, substantive exchange.”

Still, Republicans and Democrats disagree sharply on how to reduce the deficit.  The administration prefers a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, while Republicans are against higher taxes.

After the meeting, Boehner said that disagreement remains.

“The president understands, yeah, we have got some long-term spending that we need to deal with, but he is going to hold hostage the fact that he wants to raise taxes on the American people again.  That is not going to get us very far,” Boehner said.

It was the latest in a recent series of meetings the president has held with Republican lawmakers, in an apparent effort to bridge the partisan divide.

Obama treated 12 Republican Senators to dinner last week.  The next day he invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and the committee’s top Democrat to lunch at the White House.

You May Like

Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

UNICEF: Hidden Epidemic of HIV Among Adolescents

Researchers warn that Asia Pacific nations facing sharp rise in incidence of HIV among adolescents

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs