Update (3: 42 p.m. ET) - From the Speaker’s Office: “The Speaker warned that unilateral action by the president on executive amnesty will erase any chances of doing immigration reform and will also make it harder for Congress and the White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might otherwise be common ground.”
Speaker Boehner also encouraged the drafting and consideration of a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the fight against ISIS during today's meeting.
President Obama met with top Congressional leaders at the White House earlier this afternoon to discuss a way forward for gridlocked Washington in light of the new Republican majority. The White House menu for the powerhouse luncheon included heirloom tomatoes, herb crusted sea bass, and pumpkin tarts.
In attendance were House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Vice President Joe Biden, Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
Obama made a point to congratulate Boehner and McConnell, who will be replacing Reid as Senate Majority Leader when the 114th Congress convenes in January, and reflect on the message that was sent by voters in midterm results.
“As I also said the day after the election, what we’ve seen now for a number of cycles is that the American people just want to see work done here in Washington,” Obama remarked. “I think they’re frustrated by the gridlock. They’d like to see more cooperation. And I think all of us have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen. And so this gives us a good opportunity to explore where we can make progress on behalf of the people who sent us here.”
Obama continued, saying that he was “confident” both sides of the aisle are ready to get to work:
“The one thing that I’ve committed to both Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell is that I am not going to judge ideas based on whether they’re Democratic or Republican; I’m going to be judging them based whether or not they work. And I’m confident that they want to produce results, as well, on behalf of the American people.”
While Congressional Republicans have expressed interest in prioritizing energy, healthcare, and education legislation since the announcement of their majority, Obama remarked that continuing to work on the Ebola outbreak and the battle with ISIS remain top priority for the White House, with budget requests to combat these issues totaling close to $10 billion dollars. The president also hoped that the current Congress would still have the opportunity to “make progress on a whole bunch of fronts” before the year is over.
The White House press pool was removed from the meeting around 12:55 p.m. Eastern Time and reported that members were first seen leaving around 2:50 p.m. Congressional leaders did not stay for comment.
There have been no announcements of any major, overhauling legislation scheduled to hit the House Floor before December 31st; however Congress will have to pass some sort of funding bill before the December 11th deadline.