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Obama to Host Lawmakers at Two Events Thursday

Updated: 9:25 p.m.

President Barack Obama is expanding his outreach to Capitol Hill by inviting House Democratic leaders to a White House lunch Thursday.

Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley will meet in the Oval Office with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) at 12:15 p.m., according to a White House statement Wednesday.

The lunch comes as the House debates amendments to Republicans’ continuing resolution to keep the government funded for the remainder of fiscal 2011 and days after Obama released his fiscal 2012 budget request.

Senate Democratic leaders sat down with the president and vice president in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon. House Republican leaders dined with Obama during a lunch last week, and it was revealed afterward that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Obama broke bread Feb. 4, a lunch date that had not been posted on their schedules.

Several lawmakers will also be at the White House on Thursday for a morning discussion about reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act. According to the White House, Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) are expected to attend, as well as Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Dale Kildee (D-Mich.).

Harkin is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Enzi is the panel’s ranking member. On the House side, Kline is chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, and Miller is ranking member.

“The President looks forward to working with this bipartisan group of leaders to revise the federal law so that it is more fair, flexible, and focused on helping all students to graduate ready for college and careers,” the White House statement said of the 9:55 a.m. meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is scheduled to attend.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last week to expect more White House meetings with lawmakers “over the course of the next many weeks.” Gibbs stepped down at the end of last week.

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