Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch is one of a dozen Republicans who will dine with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday, offering an opportunity for cross-party talks on issues ranging from immigration to tax reform.
This is the second dinner the president has held with GOP senators this year. The first took place in early March, when he picked up the tab for a dozen senators, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who met him at the Jefferson Hotel.
Wednesday’s dinner coincides with the release of Obama’s annual budget, which includes some cuts to Social Security and Medicare that he hopes will spur Republicans to re-engage in a broader deal to reduce the deficit. So far, Republicans have rejected the overture.
Hatch, R-Utah, is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the tax code, Medicare and Social Security.
He was invited to participate by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who is organizing the event. Isakson told Politico that the dinner with Obama would be “no holds barred. It’s an open agenda. He didn’t set parameters.”