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Obama: White House dinner with GOP senators ‘constructive’

President Obama “enjoyed a constructive and wide-ranging discussion” over dinner with Republican senators on Wednesday night, White House officials said.

{mosads}During the dinner, which lasted two-and-half-hours, Obama and the senators discussed deficit reduction and immigration reform, as well as a gun control measure that the Senate will take up in the coming days.

A statement put out by the White House said Obama thanked Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) for “bringing the group together” for dinner, which included a green salad, steak and sautéed vegetables.

The White House said Obama looks forward to continuing bipartisan conversations.


“Productive discussion tonight at dinner with the President and GOP colleagues,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) tweeted Wednesday night.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was also among the lawmakers who joined Obama for his second closed-door dinner with Senate Republicans on Wednesday. 

Rubio, a frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination, had been invited but had not committed for most of the day of the dinner. The Florida Republican’s office said immigration meetings might get in the way of him going to the dinner, but later said he would attend. 

Besides Isakson, Rubio and Crapo, Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Pat Roberts (Kan.), John Thune (S.D.) Roger Wicker (Miss.) dined with Obama. 

Obama’s first meeting with Senate Republicans, last month, did not result in any new policy breakthroughs but senators left the meeting feeling more optimistic about possibly brooking a deal on deficit reduction.

After Wednesday night’s dinner, Obama has not recently dined with 21 Senate Republicans. They are: John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Jim Risch (Idaho), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.) and David Vitter (La.).

Additionally, the two dinners have included all but three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee: Cornyn, Grassley and Portman. The Finance panel oversees Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and taxes.

–Daniel Strauss contributed to this report. 

–This report was originally published at 6:19 p.m. and updated at 10:55 p.m.

Tags Chuck Grassley David Vitter Dean Heller Deb Fischer Jeff Flake Jeff Sessions Jerry Moran Jim Risch John Barrasso John Boozman John Cornyn John Thune Johnny Isakson Lamar Alexander Lisa Murkowski Marco Rubio Mark Kirk Mike Crapo Mike Enzi Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Orrin Hatch Pat Roberts Rand Paul Rob Portman Roger Wicker Roy Blunt Susan Collins Ted Cruz Thad Cochran Tim Scott
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