Obama to finally meet with Speaker Paul Ryan

There’s a meeting coming up this week at the White House which will draw some media attention, but probably not accomplish much more than generating a few headlines in the back pages of the paper. President Obama will meet for the very first time with Paul Ryan since he became Speaker of the House, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I know you’re breathless with anticipation. (Washington Post)

President Obama will hold his first meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) next week when he welcomes Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to the Oval Office, the White House said.

Ryan, who took over after John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) unexpectedly stepped down in October, has been running the House chamber for three months.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the men will discuss the president’s fiscal 2017 budget request and areas of common legislative interest in Obama’s final year in office. Asked why it took so long for Obama and Ryan to meet, Earnest cited schedule disruptions from holidays and the recent snowstorm.

First of all, it’s worth noting that a lot of things seem to get blamed on that snowstorm. First it was able to delay the release of the last batch of Clinton emails by an entire month, and now it’s stopped the President of the United States from making time to meet with the person who is third in the line of succession for a quarter of the year. Sure, he also blamed “schedule disruptions” caused by the holidays, but if you are past the half century mark and can still be surprised by the arrival of Thanksgiving and Christmas then you might want to work on your general awareness of your surroundings.

So what are they going to talk about? If it’s a victory lap on the spending bill that probably won’t work very well for Ryan and McConnell. There are rumors that they want to hash over the the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal which is probably low hanging fruit for these three, but will be a much harder sell for the Democrats’ leadership. When you’ve got both of the leading Dem candidates for Obama’s job claiming to oppose it right now, votes may be hard to come by. There’s also talk of a potential criminal justice reform bill on the table and I suppose they could round up some votes for that if it’s not too focused on the demands of the SJW.

So will this be a beer summit? Nope. Not even the bourbon summit that McConnell wanted. The White House doesn’t endorse the idea of day drinking.

Obama and McConnell (R-Ky.) have talked about having a “bourbon summit,” but Earnest played down the likelihood that they’ll crack a bottle next week.

The meeting will take place in the “late morning, early afternoon,” Earnest said. A reporter suggested with a chuckle that that is a perfect time for a shot.

“In some offices that may be true, but not in the Oval Office,” the spokesman replied.

I was going back and looking at some of the meetings between Boehner and Obama over the years and there really weren’t that many of those, either. There was the occasional golf match in the beginning, but after that they seemed to have only met a few times per year at most. But once Ryan was sworn in, it seems like there might have been a good will gesture of a sit down in the Oval Office just to get things started on a positive note. For his part, the new Speaker has talked about finding areas of common ground to get things done. Let’s see what comes of that, even though the phrase gives me chills after watching the past decade or so of cross-party efforts.


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