Obama to Lunch With Budget Chairman

Posted March 7, 2013 at 7:51am

President Barack Obama is continuing his charm offensive on Thursday with a lunch with House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan at the White House.

Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee from Wisconsin, has been drafting a plan to balance the budget within a decade — a far more ambitious goal than his previous efforts — and has been one of the president’s sharpest critics.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the budget panel, will also attend.

The lunch comes after Obama dined Wednesday night with a dozen Republican senators at the Jefferson Hotel on his own dime: Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; John McCain of Arizona; Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; Bob Corker of Tennessee; Tom Coburn of Oklahoma; Dan Coats of Indiana; Richard M. Burr of North Carolina; Mike Johanns of Nebraska; Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania; John Hoeven of North Dakota; and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

The meals are part of an unprecedented — for Obama — outreach effort after several weeks aimed at pressuring the GOP on the sequester did not bear fruit and instead hit the president’s own approval ratings. Obama has made a number of calls in recent days to Republicans and Democrats, including to Ryan, as he tries to find a way out of the sequester and advance other key pieces of his agenda, including immigration and guns. He will meet next week with both parties in both chambers separately at the Capitol.