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Senate Democrats Gather at the White House

President Barack Obama began meeting at noon Tuesday with members of the Senate Democratic Conference, who arrived at the White House in a convoy of buses to hold their weekly policy luncheon in a different setting — at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with the president and his advisers.

White House aides before the gathering said 57 members of the Conference were expected to attend, except Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd of West Virginia — who are ailing — and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who has a broken ankle.

The president was primed to urge Senators to follow the House in approving an added $2 billion for the “cash for clunkers— program and to talk about health and energy legislation. Leading Democrats are expected to speak with reporters immediately after the session.