Obama invites McConnell, Grassley to White House

Obama invites McConnell, Grassley to White House
© Greg Nash

President Obama is ratcheting up the pressure on Senate Republicans to at least talk about his plan to nominate someone to the Supreme Court to replace the late conservative justice Antonin Scalia.

Obama has invited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) to meet with him and Democratic leaders Thursday at the White House.

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A spokesman for McConnell confirmed that the White House is trying to set up a meeting. But the GOP aide noted the Senate leader has already spoken to Obama over the telephone and knows what he wants.

“We are working with the White House to schedule a time for a meeting,” said Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman. “The leader welcomes the opportunity to reiterate to the president directly that the American people will be heard on this matter, and the nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall.”

The meeting request appears designed to foil McConnell’s effort to end as soon as possible the conversation about possible hearings and a vote.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE (Nev.) and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Regulation: Massachusetts AG sues Equifax | Trump weighs easing rules on gun exports | EPA nominee to fight worker safety rule in court Trump to ease rules on gun exports: report Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (Vt.), the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, have been invited as well.

Leahy said Wednesday he plans to attend.

“He’s asked me for suggestions and I’ll give it to him privately, as I’ve always have. As I’ve had to Republican presidents, too.”

—This report was updated at 4:29 p.m.