News / USA

Obama Plans More Outreach to Republicans

Kent Klein
— President Barack Obama is reaching out to opposition Republicans in Congress in hopes of finding an agreement on ways to cut the U.S. deficit.  The effort is a sudden change from the president's recent strategy of criticizing Republicans and appealing directly to the American people.

Obama will spend much of the coming week on Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers from both parties and looking for solutions to the deficit and other issues.

The president's new outreach began Wednesday, when he treated 12 Republican senators to dinner at a luxurious Washington hotel.

The next day, he had lunch with Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, as well as Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the senior Democrat on the panel.

Both sides described the discussions as productive and pleasant, even if any deals on the deficit appear to be months away.

In his weekly address Saturday, President Obama said progress was made in several areas, and compromise is possible.

"We had an open and honest conversation about critical issues like immigration reform and gun violence, and other areas where we can work together to move this country forward.  And next week, I’ll attend both the Democratic and Republican party meetings in the Capitol to continue those discussions," he said.

Watch President Obama's weekly address:



Obama's tone was far more conciliatory than in the previous week's address, in which he blamed Republicans for allowing automatic government budget cuts to take effect.

"Here’s the thing: none of this is necessary.  It’s happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit," he said.

In his failed attempt to avert the automatic cuts, the president kept engagement with Republican leaders to a minimum.  Instead, he made several campaign-style trips, calling on Americans to put pressure on Republican lawmakers to agree to his deficit reduction plan.  

Now, Obama is bypassing top Republicans in favor of building support among other Republican members of Congress.

On Thursday, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the president's negotiating partner in the past, said he hopes something will result from the new White House effort.

"And I frankly think it is a somewhat hopeful sign that the president, now in his second term, is beginning to understand that even the leaders have to have support from the members," he said.

Still, major disagreements on spending and taxes persist, as Senator Jeff Sessions indicated in this week's Republican address.  

"President Obama speaks of his deep concern for struggling Americans, yet his plans are focused on growing government - not the economy," he said. "He has no effective plan to create better jobs, more hiring or rising wages.  That’s what’s missing."

Both the Republican senators who had dinner with the president and White House press secretary Jay Carney have cautioned that bridging the partisan divide will be difficult and an agreement is far from a sure thing.  But both sides say the first step has been taken.

Watch weekly Republican address:

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid