President Obama reaches out to Republicans senators to talk fiscal policy; among those in attendance was Sen. Mike Johanns.
Johanns was among 12 Republican Senators who had dinner in Washington with President Obama.
“I thought we had a good conversation. I thought it was very cordial, very respectful,”Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during his weekly conference call. “But, obviously we can’t stop with a good candid, cordial conversation.”
Obama has been reaching out to Republicans, discussing alternatives to the sequestration, the automatic across-the-board budget cuts that took effect Friday. This year, sequestration will cut $85 billion from the federal budget. It will cut more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years unless Congress and the president agree to a different plan to reduce the federal deficit.
The White House announced that Obama had a private dinner with the 12 Republican senators at a downtown Washington hotel.
The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also announced that Obama plans to attend a Senate Republican luncheon on March the 14th. The office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said that Obama has also requested a meeting with House Republicans.
The president is also arranging a time to meet with members of his own party in both the Senate and the House.
A spokesman for the president said he has been calling Republican lawmakers about an alternative to the sequester as well as about other aspects of his agenda, such as immigration reform and gun control.
Johanns, along with other Republicans, wants spending cuts. He says Washington has enough studies on how to deal with the deficit; studies aren’t needed, action is.
“You know, I think all the ideas are fleshed out there. I just think now it’s a question of the political choices that have to be made.”
Johanns says spending must be reduced and entitlements put on sound fiscal footing.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]