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House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Sunday that he's not yet convinced that President Obama's new efforts to woo Republicans are a legitimate attempt to work across the aisle.
"Is this about politics or is this genuine?," McCarthy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” "Only time will tell."
Obama has angered Republicans with efforts to build public pressure on the GOP with outside-the-Beltway rallies and events to force action on issues including gun control and immigration. And in the run up to the $85 billion in sequester cuts, which took effect this month, Obama sought to blame GOP lawmakers for the budget axe and any fallout.
But Obama, locked in a stand-off with Republicans on taxes and spending, has also sought to reach out to GOP lawmakers, to broach the prospects for a grand deficit bargain. On Wednesday he had dinner with a dozen Republican senators and lunch with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday.
And later this week he will travel to Capitol Hill for separate meetings with House Republicans on Wednesday and Senate Republicans on Thursday.
McCarthy said there is an opportunity to find "common ground" with Obama but said Republicans are not interested in new taxes.
The deadlock over taxes prevented the White House and Congress from crafting a deal to avert the across-the-board sequester cuts.
Democrats had called for a replacing the automatic cuts with other targeted spending cuts and new tax revenues. But Republicans rejected the call for tax hikes, saying that they had already conceded new revenues in January’s “fiscal cliff” deal and calling for the sequester to be offset with cuts only.