Obama clashes with GOP, but promises to meet in the middle

Obama clashes with GOP, but promises to meet in the middle

Senate Republicans clashed with President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPompeo’s retreat into chaos Barack Obama wishes Michelle a happy birthday: 'You’re one of a kind' NY Times prints special section featuring women of the 116th Congress MORE during his visit with their caucus Tuesday on energy legislation, immigration reform and other issues.



“It was good,” Obama told reporters as he left the meeting. “We had a good, frank discussion on a whole range of issues.”



Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) said his colleagues challenged the president over what they see as the partisan way he has pushed healthcare reform and Wall Street reform legislation. Brownback described the meeting as “testy.”



Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTSA agents protest government shutdown at Pittsburgh airport The case for Russia sanctions Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE (Ky.) described it as a “spirited discussion.”



Obama told Republicans that we would be willing to meet them halfway or 75 percent of the way on some of the big issues remaining on his agenda.



When they pressed him to support specific GOP-favored proposals, he repeatedly said he is constrained because of pressure from his party’s liberal base.



Obama called on Republicans to help pass a $58.8 billion supplemental and a package of extended tax relief and unemployment aid by the end of the week.



Obama also asked Republicans to support his Supreme Court pick, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and join him to advance immigration reform and energy and climate change legislation.



Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO Mark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally MORE (R-Ariz.) told Obama that he must first secure the border with Mexico before Republicans will support a comprehensive reform package, according to GOP lawmakers in the meeting.



McCain told Obama that members of his administration were not helping the discussion on immigration reform by mischaracterizing a newly-passed Arizona law that empowers law enforcement to spot-check the identity documents of suspected illegal immigrants.



The president did not propose sending a specific number of border patrol officers and National Guard troops to the border, as some insiders had expected.



Obama called on Republicans to support energy and climate legislation sponsored by Sens. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryGraham criticizes Trump canceling Pelosi trip as 'inappropriate’ Howard Dean to CNN: All Dem candidates qualified to be president except Tulsi Gabbard Not your ‘grandfather’s’ campaign: 2020 Dems look to stand out in crowded race MORE (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), but Republicans pressed him to move a bipartisan energy-only bill sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), according to a GOP lawmaker in the room.



Despite the disagreements, the Republican senators applauded Obama at the end of the meeting.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said his colleagues were “appreciative” of the president's visit but added the two sides spoke “candidly” to each other.