For Bush, another day with Democrats - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/10/06

For Bush, another day with Democrats

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, walks down the Capitol's steps with Sen. Dick Durbin, right, and Sen. Charles Schumer. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, walks down the Capitol's steps with Sen. Dick Durbin, right, and Sen. Charles Schumer.
Californian Nancy Pelosi, in line to become House speaker, meets with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the likely majority leader. Californian Nancy Pelosi, in line to become House speaker, meets with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the likely majority leader.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, left, House speaker-to-be Rep. Nancy Pelosi and President Bush confer Thursday. All agreed they must work together. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, left, House speaker-to-be Rep. Nancy Pelosi and President Bush confer Thursday. All agreed they must work together.
Now facing Democratic control of both chambers of Congress during the last two years of his presidency, President Bush on Friday continues to move toward building a working relationship with Democratic congressional leaders.

Bush will greet Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who is expected to be the Senate majority leader when a new Congress convenes next January, and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, expected to become assistant majority leader, in the Oval Office.

The meeting comes a day after the incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen conceded the Virginia race to his Democratic challenger, Jim Webb.

Webb's win over Allen gives Democrats a 51-49 advantage in the Senate, counting two independents who have said they will caucus with the party.

When announcing his defeat in Alexandria, Virginia, Allen told his supporters Thursday, "The Bible teaches us there is a time and place for everything, and today I called and congratulated Jim Webb."

Word of Webb's win led Democrats to celebrate outside the Capitol, as Reid told a Capitol Hill crowd that the Democrats' win in the House and Senate showed it is "time for a change."

"It's time for bipartisanship. It's time for open government, transparency, and it's a time for results," he said.

Added Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, "Will we stand up to the president when we think he is wrong? Yes. But our real mission is to work together and help the American family and make a better America, and we pledge today that we will never lose sight of that, our true mission."

Promises of bipartisanship

Friday's meeting with top Senate Democrats also comes a day after Bush lunched with the two top House Democrats, emerging with a promise that Democrats and the White House would work in tandem over the next two years.

On Election Day, the Democrats won a majority of House seats, wresting control of the chamber for the first time since the 1994 midterm elections.

"We won't agree on every issue," Bush said after dining with House speaker-to-be Rep. Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. "But we do agree that we love America equally, that we're concerned about the future of this country, and that we will do our very best to address big problems."

Pelosi agreed, saying she looks forward to "working in a confidence-building way with the president."

"We've made history. Now we have to make progress," she said.

Hoyer added that it's clear Americans hope "that we will work together -- we being Republicans and Democrats, the president and the Congress -- to solve the problems and make their lives better, more secure and our country more safe."

Before the lunch, Bush told reporters Thursday that he respected the results of this week's elections that propelled Democrats to power and said he was "open to any idea or suggestion" that will help the United States achieve its goals in Iraq.

"Whatever party we come from we all have a responsibility to ensure that these troops have the resources and support they need to prevail," he said.

Bush said he was eager to discuss with Democrats "the way forward for our country" and has instructed his Cabinet to provide the new congressional leaders with any information they need to do their jobs.

Pelosi, who would be the first female House speaker, told CNN: "Democrats are ready to lead, prepared to govern and absolutely willing to work in a bipartisan way."

She has previously said a Democratic-led Congress will not be a rubber stamp for the White House. On Wednesday, she said she hoped there would be cooperation with congressional investigations -- part of the checks-and-balances system built into the Constitution.

Pelosi also has said that in the first 100 hours of her speakership she will push for action implementing all 9/11 Commission recommendations on national security, raising the minimum wage to $7.25, eliminating corporate subsidies for oil companies, allowing the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, imposing new restrictions on lobbyists, cutting interest rates on college loans and supporting embryonic stem cell research.

Source: CNN

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