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Bush Meets Senate Democrats

U.S. President George Bush continues to meet with opposition Democrats who won control of Congress this week. Mr. Bush invited top Democrats in the Senate to coffee at the White House.

President Bush says there is now a great opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to show Americans that both political parties are equally concerned about the future and can work together.

He said, "The elections are over. The problems haven't gone away. And I assured the senators that we will cooperate as closely as we can to solve common problems."

Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had coffee in the Oval Office with Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin. Reid, who is expected to be the next Senate Majority Leader, said it was an excellent discussion.

"The election is over. The only way to move forward is with bipartisanship and openness and to get some results. And we made a commitment, the four of us here today, that's what we are going to do," he said.

Before Democrats take charge of Congress in January, President Bush says there is much work to be done in the existing Congress including action on spending bills, terrorist surveillance, and alternative energy.

He also wants lawmakers to complete work on the Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and a deal sharing civilian nuclear technology with India.

But two of the president's major goals in the Senate appear unlikely. Democrats continue to threaten a legislative maneuver of extended debate to block a measure approving warrant-less wiretapping for terrorist surveillance.

Mr. Bush also wants U.N. Ambassador John Bolton formally approved by the Senate before the end of the year. While many Senate Democrats oppose Bolton, it is Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee who will likely block the nomination.

As a member of the committee responsible for bringing Bolton's nomination before the full Senate, Chafee's opposition would likely prevent a vote on the U.N. Ambassador, who currently has a temporary appointment.