Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

Posted: 11:22 p.m. Monday, March 11, 2013

Obama charm offensive hits Capitol Hill 

By Jamie Dupree

In the press galleries on Capitol Hill over the years, we have seen a lot of trips to the U.S. Capitol by Presidents of both parties, but none of my colleagues can remember a series of visits like we will have over the next three days by President Obama.

"He’s meeting with I guess potentially 535 lawmakers," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, noting that all 435 House members and 100 Senators will have a chance to sit down with the President in coming days.

The schedule looks like this:

+ Tuesday lunch with Senate Democrats

+ Wednesday morning meeting with House Republicans

+ Thursday lunch with Senate Republicans

+ Thursday meeting with House Democrats

The White House maintains it shows that real work is going on to bridge the gap on a host of important issues.

"I mean, amidst all the talk about partisan stalemating, gridlock, it is a simple fact that there is activity right now in Washington that represents bipartisan compromise -- efforts towards immigration reform, discussions on reducing gun violence," Carney told reporters at Monday's White House briefing.

The President's trip will also coincide with a lot of budget work on Capitol Hill.

Just before Mr. Obama arrives on Tuesday for lunch, House Republicans will roll out their own budget outline for Fiscal Year 2014; Senate Democrats are expected to do the same on Wednesday.

Please note that I labeled it a "budget outline" and not just a "budget." That's because it really isn't a true, detailed budget.

These plans - which will be made into the "budget resolution" for the House and Senate, are an outline, a layout, a rundown, a framework for what the parties want to achieve in their budget.

For example, the GOP budget outline from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will have basic bullet points, but not all the legislative language of a budget.

Senate Democrats will likely have the same level of detail in their plan - basic numbers, but not all the nitty gritty fine print.

On the "actual" budget front Monday night, the Senate Appropriations Committee outlined bipartisan plans to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year.

The bill tracks many of the same provisions approved last week by the House, as it embraces full-year funding plans for the military and VA. This Senate bill adds in full-year funding authority for three other spending bills dealing with Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science and the Department of Homeland Security.

The final budget total is the same as the House bill, at $984 billion for the discretionary budget post-sequester.

The bill does allow those five areas listed above to deal in a much more intelligent way with the automatic across-the-board cuts that hit on March 1.

Whether it can stave off any furloughs of government workers, that is not so clear at this point.

For example, this bill contains a full-year funding plan for the Transportation Security Administration and the rest of the Department of Homeland Security.

Will this legislative action on the TSA budget change the outlook on possible furloughs because of the sequester? That is not clear to me at this point.

You can read the explanatory statement about the bill at the website of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Jamie Dupree

About Jamie Dupree

Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

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