It’s become a rare Washington event: President Obama and his most prominent political rival, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, meeting one-on-one.
Following an hour-long sit down in the Oval Office, both sides agreed the meeting was “constructive.”
“The two discussed a wide range of issues, including manufacturing, trade promotion authority, flood insurance, immigration, the president’s health care law, Afghanistan, the appropriations process, California drought relief, wildfire suppression, and the highway bill,” according to a Boehner aide. “They agreed that there is a lot of work to do the rest of the year, and it is important to work together wherever we can find common ground.”
Today marked Obama and Boehner’s first solo meeting since the “fiscal cliff” crisis in December 2012, although the speaker has attended several White House meetings with congressional leaders since then.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was adamant today that the president’s communication with Congress is “robust,” despite the seemingly icy relationship between the president and the speaker.
“We do not read out every conversation and meeting that the president has with members of Congress,” Carney told reporters at the daily briefing.
“I think it’s a press misconception that the success or failure of legislation in Congress depends on the relationship between a president and a speaker or a president and a leader in Congress,” he added. “The president’s relationship with the speaker, as the speaker has said and the president has said is — has always been solid. And the problem we’ve had in the past here in Washington has been often the dictation that has been provided by a segment of the House Republican Congress over what the House of Representatives would or would not do.”