President Barack Obama plans to discuss the economy and jobs at a lunch Wednesday with congressional leaders as disputes continue among lawmakers over the US budget deficit.
The president "will have lunch at the White House with the Democratic and Republican leaders in both houses of Congress to discuss ongoing efforts to find common ground on legislative priorities that will create jobs and strengthen America's economy," according to the White House's schedule for the president.
Vice President Joe Biden, who has served as a liaison to Congress, also plans to attend.
The Obama administration lost some of its influence in Congress last year as Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives.
The luncheon is planned only days after Obama signed a bill to extend financial and social programs that Republicans only grudgingly accepted after disputes over spending levels.
The disputes were typical of recent skirmishes between the Democratic president, who wants to stimulate the economy and reduce deficits by increasing taxes on the wealthy, and congressional Republicans, who prefer spending cuts.
In April and July of last year, the clashes nearly drove the US economy to bankruptcy as Republicans and Democrats argued about raising the debt ceiling. The crisis led the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's to downgrade the US credit rating.
However, on Tuesday the White House announced progress in discussions with Republicans on promoting job growth in a labor market still recovering from the recession of 2007-2009.
Nearly eight months before the next presidential election in November, the US unemployment rate stands at 8.3%, compared with 5% while Obama ran for his first term of office in early 2008.
Source: AFP American Edition