President Barack Obama called Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to talk Wall Street reform legislation on Tuesday, and has been in talks with Republican lawmakers about the bill.
Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said the president and members of the administration have been working closely with GOP members of Congress, telling a pool reporter that Obama had called Brown aboard Air Force One while flying back from California today.
Obama and Brown talked financial reform and immigration reform, despite Brown having maintained as lately as this Sunday that he would join a Republican filibuster of the legislation.
The president's call to Brown was among a broader outreach effort toward GOP members of Congress, Burton said.
"The president and his staff have obviously been in close consultation with Republican members," Burton said during a gaggle aboard Air Force One.
"We've been speaking with Senator Collins, we've been speaking with other Republican senators and will continue to," Burton said earlier in the gaggle. "But there’s a wide range of issues besides just the $50 billion fund and some other things that we're in discussions about."
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with Maine GOP Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe on Monday, only to have Collins rebuff overtures to break party lines to advance the bill.
Burton spoke of conflicting reports on Republicans' positions on the bill, but said the White House thinks "there are folks who do sincerely want to make progress on financial regulatory reform and we're confident that we're going to be able to have a bill that has some bipartisan support."
The talks represent a behind-the-scenes overture between the administration toward Republicans as each side ramps up its political rhetoric over financial reform, which appears short of having enough votes as of now to advance through the Senate.
Burton said that dropping a $50 billion resolution authority fund in the bill, which Republicans say perpetuates bailouts, is among the things that the administration is discussing with lawmakers, though he added that it is only one item playing into negotiations to win bipartisan support for the bill.
But when asked if Obama had spoken specifically with Snowe and Collins, Burton said he did not know.
Updated at 4:08 p.m.