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Obama meets with Hill leaders on jobs

  |   Feb. 29, 2012 at 5:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- President Obama had a "cordial" and "constructive" closed-door lunch meeting Wednesday with top congressional leaders to talk about jobs, the White House said.

It was the first such meeting since debt-ceiling negotiations broke down last summer, Politico reported.

The newspaper said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attended.

"It was a constructive and cordial meeting over lunch. It was the president, the vice president, and the four leaders," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

"They discussed a variety of topics, a range of topics, both domestic and foreign, and they discussed ways that they could build on the bipartisan cooperation that led to the extension of the payroll tax cut, as well as unemployment insurance. …

"As for energy policy, the president stressed that he will continue to focus on an all-of-the-above approach, and an all-of-the-above approach does not mean just drilling. It includes drilling. … Since President Obama took office, domestic oil and gas production has continued to increase, to a point where we're now at an eight-year high, and the president's very committed to continuing to expand domestic oil and gas production safely and responsibly," Cantor said.

Absent was House Minority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Politico said the president and Cantor had a particularly tense face-off during the debt talks. The White House said Cantor repeatedly interrupted Obama.

But Politico said Cantor and the president have been working together on a legislative jobs package to help small businesses get access to needed capital.

Boehner left the meeting feeling "hopeful" and "encouraged" Democrats might consider energy and jobs bills passed by the Republican-led House, The Hill quoted his office as saying.

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