President Barack Obama’s meeting Thursday with Senate Republicans marks his second meeting in a week with Indiana Senator Dan Coats. The president’s week of outreach to Congress began last week with a Washington dinner that included Coats and eleven other rank-and-file Republican senators.
While Coats says he is not sure why the White House picked him to be a part of the initial overture, he also says both meetings were constructive and indicated a willingness to work together, despite the two sides’ deep philosophical differences. He says there’s a brief window to reach a debt-reduction deal before next year‘s congressional campaign revs up.
“Just about every possible solution known to mankind has been laid on the table, debated, vetted, and so forth,” Coats says. “What we need now is the political will to go forward, starting with the president, and then coming out of leadership and membership of both parties.”
Coats also adds that the consultations with Congress need to be an ongoing effort, not a one time public relations gambit. He says that both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton invited members of Congress to the White House frequently, and were rewarded with victories on Social Security, tax, and welfare reform.