Obama to huddle with Hill leaders on foreign affairs
By: John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman
July 30, 2014 09:17 PM EDT
President Barack Obama will huddle with top congressional leaders on Thursday to discuss national security and foreign affairs issues, including the ongoing military campaign by Israel in Gaza.
The ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, the brewing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan are also expected to be discussed as well, said congressional aides.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will be in attendance, as will the top Democratic senators from the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence committees.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the party whips, are also expected to be there.
“The leader plans to attend the meeting at the White House,”said Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman. “It’s likely now that any votes Thursday will be pushed into the afternoon or evening.”
But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his House GOP colleagues — facing a full series of votes, including a tough fight over a border security bill — will not be traveling down Pennsylvania Ave. to meet with Obama, GOP sources said.
Republican staffers insist the decision not to attend Thursday’s meeting was not a snub of Obama or partisan gamesmanship, but instead reflects the time crunch they face as Congress wraps up its last day in session before the month-long August recess kicks off.
“Given the need for House action on the highway and border bills, he is not planning to attend,” said Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are planning on being at the meeting with Obama, Democratic aides said.
Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) — the ranking members on the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence panels — will all be there as well.