But with fiscal crises out of the way for the time being, and
prospects for major legislation dimming ahead of November midterm
elections, it's unclear what the two men will talk about.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said Obama reached out to Boehner
with the invitation, and that a "broad set of topics" would be
"The President and the Speaker are looking forward to discussing a
range of items on the legislative agenda," White House spokesman
Josh Earnest said.
The two leaders last met alone in the Oval Office on December 17,
2012, Buck said. That was during the days of the looming "fiscal
cliff," when the two leaders sought but ultimately failed to find a
"grand bargain" on tax reform and spending cuts during deficit
"Really? That long ago!" said Larry Sabato, director of the
University of Virginia's Center for Politics, noting that Obama has
probably met more often with Russian President Vladimir Putin than
"There are two really different cold wars being waged," Sabato said.
Since Boehner took the speaker's gavel in 2011, the two leaders have
had a near-constant battle over fiscal issues, fights punctuated by
a showdown over raising the debt ceiling in 2011, a "fiscal cliff"
deadline in late 2012, and a 16-day government shutdown in October
After the 2012 talks flopped, Boehner said he had given up on
negotiating with Obama.
The Republican Speaker has been in the Oval Office a few times since
with Senate leaders and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and
visited the White House once during the October shutdown with a
group of House Republican leaders.
Obama and Boehner also sporadically speak on the phone, according to
reports from the White House.
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But personal contacts have been few and far between. Although the
two men share a passion for golf, they have not hit the greens
together since a lone outing in 2011.
There are no more fiscal fights looming in the short term. Congress
agreed to a two-year budget deal at the end of last year, and passed
a one-year extension of the debt ceiling earlier this month.
Tuesday's meeting comes a week before Obama delivers his latest
budget proposal to Congress, a document that will no longer include
an offer to Republicans to trim Social Security benefits in exchange
for a deal to overhaul tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.
Both parties have scaled back their legislative ambitions this year
ahead of midterm elections in November, when Democratic control of
the Senate is at stake and Boehner's Republicans seek to make bigger
inroads in the House of Representatives.
Obama has urged the House to pass a sweeping overhaul of immigration
laws, a bill that already has passed in the Senate. But Boehner has
hinted that is unlikely to happen soon.
"A meeting can't change the fundamentals of a midterm election
year," the University of Virginia's Sabato said. "These two are on
very different paths."
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton)
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