Obama to meet Democratic leaders before they leave to campaign

Obama to meet Democratic leaders before they leave to campaign

President Obama will meet with Democratic leaders one last time on Thursday before a midterm election that could decimate their numbers on Capitol Hill.

Obama is expected to talk about a variety of issues along with what the party should do going forward, the White House said Thursday.

"It’s just one more opportunity to talk to some of his allies on Capitol Hill before they go out for the election," said White House spokesman Bill Burton.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), her leadership position in jeopardy, will be joined at the White House by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

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The meeting takes place less than a day after the House and Senate adjourned for the campaign season. Democrats are leaving Washington without extending tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire at the end of the year. Obama wants to extend those tax cuts, but allow tax rates on wealthier families and individuals to rise. 

Congress approved a continuing resolution to fund the government before adjourning, but has not sent Obama any appropriations bills or a budget. 

When asked aboard Air Force One on Wednesday how Democrats could campaign without having so much as passed a budget, Burton said "nobody can argue" that this was not one "of the most productive legislative sessions that Congress has ever seen."

"They’ve moved at a pretty robust pace, and you can bet that they’re going to continue to do that because there’s a lot more work to do," Burton said. "The president will meet with Democratic leaders in Washington [Thursday], and they’ll talk about a wide variety of issues and what we ought to do going forward."

Polls suggest Republicans could win more than the 39 seats they need to take back the House. It would be tougher for Republicans to win control of the Senate, though polls showing tight races in West Virginia and Connecticut, where Democrats had been favored, suggest control of the Senate could be in play.

No matter what happens on Election Day, Obama and Congress face a busy lame-duck session after Nov. 2. Lawmakers will be under pressure to extend the tax cuts, and a host of other bills are in play for consideration.

Burton said the president has accepted the idea of a lame-duck vote on taxes.

"The president is comfortable with the tax cuts being dealt with in whatever way they need to get dealt with so that middle-class Americans can get a tax cut," Burton said.

Obama has drawn lines in the sand over the tax cuts, blasting Republicans for fighting for billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy instead of extending only the cuts for the middle class.

Republicans, however, have sought to paint Obama's efforts as an attempt to raise taxes at a time when the economy is struggling mightily to recover.