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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 McConnellWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Iowa governor questions lack of notice on migrant children flights to Des Moines Senate crafts Pelosi alternative on drug prices 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 Mason ReidNevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Lobbying world MORE (Nev.) and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Biden budget expands government's role in economy House narrowly approves .9B Capitol security bill after 'squad' drama 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.