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 McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyComey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee GOP to kill language exempting staff from new ObamaCare repeal bill House cyber chairman wants to bolster workforce 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 ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (Nev.) and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyCongress strikes deal on funding for 2017 to avoid shutdown Hollywood, DC come together for First Amendment-themed VIP party The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.