President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans met behind closed doors Tuesday for talks ranging from jobs to the massive Gulf oil spill and prospects for strengthening border security this election year.
"We want to see if we can get some more work done," Obama said as he arrived at the Capitol for the lunch-hour session.
The rare Hill meeting between the Democratic president and Republicans who have objected to much of his agenda came at Obama's urging, according to Republicans with knowledge of the matter. The White House said the session was expected to focus on the economy and jobs, but aides to GOP lawmakers said they expected to press Obama on the administration's response to the massive spill that continues to threaten the Gulf's fragile ecosystem.
Republicans also said they expected to speak with Obama about their plan to attach immigration reforms to an almost $60 billion war spending bill. The amendments would toughen border security by deploying thousands of National Guard troops and drones.
During his presidential campaign, Obama promised to push legislation paving the way to citizenship for some 11 million illegal immigrants. He has said more recently, though, that Congress has little appetite for a massive bill on the subject this election year, so lawmakers are looking at ways to enact more incremental changes.
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