No invite from GOP for Sen. Gregg to attend healthcare summit

Senate Democratic leaders have tapped Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad to attend Thursday’s healthcare summit, but GOP leaders skipped over their ranking member on the panel.

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the highest-ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, wasn’t on a list distributed Tuesday by Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE’s (R-Ky.) office. The White House had already invited senior members of both parties, but allowed both McConnell and Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom Line Bottom Line Lobbying world MORE (D-Nev.) to tap four more members of their choosing.

The White House’s exclusion of House or Senate budget-writers from its original Feb. 12 invitation raised some eyebrows, but Reid simply tapped Conrad (N.D.) as one of his four extra choices.

McConnell instead tapped Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderJuan Williams: Republicans flee Trump Romney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Impeachment angst growing in GOP MORE (Tenn.), ranking Finance Committee member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee member John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Sanders proposes expanded Veterans Affairs services, B to rebuild infrastructure Cindy McCain says husband John McCain would be 'disgusted' by state of GOP MORE (R-Ariz.), and the Senate’s only two physicians — Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP senators discuss impeachment with Trump after House vote MORE (R-Wyo.).

GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Senate committee advances budget reform plan Bipartisan Enzi-Whitehouse budget bill a very bad fix for deficits MORE (R-Wyo.) are also attending and were previously invited. Enzi is the ranking Republican on the HELP Committee, of which Coburn is also a member.

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart had no immediate comment on Gregg’s exclusion, but did say that dozens of GOP senators had lobbied to be invited.

Asked about McConnell's choice not to invite him, Gregg declined to comment. “You'd have to ask Sen. McConnell,” he said.

Gregg himself had lobbied to be included, telling MSNBC in an interview shortly before the White House announced its invitations that both parties should "step back.”

The senator has had a rocky relationship with President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaSaagar Enjeti rips Buttigieg for praising Obama after misquote Steyer scores endorsement from key New Hampshire activist Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism MORE in the past year, however, going from Obama’s one-time pick to lead the Commerce Department to one of the president’s harshest critics in the Senate.

Gregg’s office had no immediate comment on his exclusion from the summit.

McConnell released the following statement with his invitee list on Tuesday: “Americans don’t know how else to say it: They’re not interested in a reform that starts with the bills they’ve already rejected, bills that slash a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, raise a half-trillion in new taxes, and don’t lower costs or premiums. Republicans will attend this summit in good faith, and will continue to offer the types of ideas and step-by-step approach that Americans are actually calling for: legislation that brings down costs and increases access for Americans.”

The Senate’s Democratic attendees to the summit include Reid, Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFive things to watch at Supreme Court's DACA hearings Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills MORE (Ill.), Conference Vice Chairman Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDivided Supreme Court leans toward allowing Trump to end DACA Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election MORE (N.Y.), Conference Secretary Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayRetirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senate Democrats call on White House to abandon plan to collect DNA from migrants Overnight Health Care: Judge temporarily blocks Alabama near-total abortion ban | Sanders dismisses calls for 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Dems urge Trump not to back down on vaping flavor ban MORE (Wash.), Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBottom line Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor MORE (Mont.), Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (Conn.), HELP Committee Chairman Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDemocrats must question possible political surveillance Wisconsin lawmaker gets buzz-cut after vowing not to cut hair until sign language bill passed Democratic debates kick off Iowa summer sprint MORE (Iowa), Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care Chairman Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerBottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease Lobbying World MORE (W.Va.) and Conrad.

The White House originally invited 21 members of Congress — 12 Democrats and nine Republicans — along with aides and representatives from the Office of Management and Budget, the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Congressional Budget Office, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Mark Halperin inks book deal 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE and Office of Health Reform Director Nancy DeParle.