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Posted at 9:28 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

White House budget director huddles with House Democrats

By Felicia Sonmez

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew met with House Democrats Wednesday morning at their closed-door caucus meeting, a week after meeting with Senate Democrats and days ahead of the release of President Obama's budget on Monday.

In addition to Lew, several others gave presentations at Wednesday's caucus meeting, including House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.); Stan Collender, managing director of Qorvis Communications and a former congressional budget analyst; and Bob Greenstein, founder of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

At a news conference ahead of the meeting, Van Hollen, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said that House Democrats remain committed to job-creation and economic issues.

Becerra also alluded to the renewed debate over abortion funding playing out on Capitol Hill in the form of two House Republican-led bills; proponents of the measures argue that they're in line with the goal of cutting spending, while opponents contend they're a distraction from economic issues.

"We're hoping our Republican colleagues will join us in trying to do what President Obama focused on all of his first two years, and that is creating jobs in America, rather than getting into these cultural wars, rather than getting into these mindless games about whodunit, who-didn't-do-it," Becerra said. "So we're hoping to work together in the House of Representatives in the near future, but time is ticking; the clock is ticking, and we have yet to see one proposal to meaningfully create jobs in America come out of this new House majority."

The House Democratic leaders also weighed in on Tuesday night's vote on a measure extending key provisions of the Patriot Act, which unexpectedly fell seven votes short of the two-thirds needed for passage.

"There's a lot of new members over there on the Republican side; I think they're a little bit in disarray themselves, and I don't think they've really found their center yet in terms of, from which they're going to govern," Larson said. "They have the responsibility of governing, and it seems right now they're coming apart at the seams."

House Republicans on Tuesday night pointed the finger at Democrats for the failure of the measure, which the White House has supported.

"Democrats in Congress voted to deny their own administration's request for key weapons in the war on terror," said Erica Elliott, spokesperson for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

By Felicia Sonmez  | February 9, 2011; 9:28 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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NEWS FLASH - To Budget Director Jack Lew and the White House.
Purse strings are now controlled by the GOP in the house and not the Dems. You are meeting with the wrong people!
If and when Budget Director Jack Lew decides to meet with the GOP be sure to bring your butcher knife and be prepared to start cutting fat out of PO's budget and the bloated federal bureaucracy.

Posted by: rteske | February 10, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse


Hey Democrats,

Print MORE Timmy money


Posted by: kstobbe1 | February 10, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

LOL! House Dems have ZERO power when it comes to the budget.

Posted by: illogicbuster | February 9, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Once again, the White House OMB works ONLY with House Democrats a week after working ONLY with Senate Democrats. The Democrats hope the Republicans will agree with them.

This is an example of Obama's bipartisanship. Today's lunch is for the cameras while covering for closed meetings with "their side" of Congress.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | February 9, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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