Freshman GOP Member Stands Up Obama

Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:26am

Updated: 12:35 p.m.

With House Republicans meeting this morning with President Barack Obama at the White House, at least one GOP lawmaker opted to skip the event.

Freshman Rep. Jeff Landry said in a statement Wednesday that he “respectfully declined” Obama’s invitation.

“I don’t intend to spend my morning being lectured to by a President whose failed policies have put our children and grandchildren in a huge burden of debt,” the Louisiana Republican said in a statement. “Until the President produces a responsible deficit reduction plan, I’m not going to the White House to negotiate with myself.”

In particular, Landry singled out Obama’s lack of interest in meeting on Gulf Coast issues. He said the administration has declined several requests by the Louisiana delegation to meet with the president or his chief of staff on drilling issues.

“The President hasn’t even had the courtesy to write us a note back. I refuse to partake in his political grandstanding that will ultimately do nothing for debt reduction and job creation,” Landry said.

Landry may also have a political motive in skipping out on the meeting with the president. Landry’s district was essentially eliminated in redistricting and, under the new lines, he is expected to face off against Rep. Charles Boustany in the GOP primary in a district that includes more of Boustany’s current territory. Avoiding a meeting with the president might be a way for Landry to differentiate himself from Boustany, who is seen as close with House Republican leadership.

This is the first time the entire House Republican Conference is meeting with Obama since taking over the House majority. The meeting is expected to largely focus on the need to raise the debt limit, and comes a day after House Republicans killed a proposal to increase the debt ceiling without any accompanying spending cuts.