Following Republican Party gains in the November 4 midterm elections, President Obama hosted congressional leaders at a White House luncheon November 7.
House Speaker John Boehner (on left above), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (at right) attended, as did Vice President Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, and other senior members of Congress.
The president congratulated McConnell and Boehner for running strong campaigns and expressed optimism that progress could be made in both the lame duck session of the current Congress, which reconvenes in mid-November, and in the new Congress that convenes in January 2015.
“What we’ve seen now for a number of cycles is that the American people just want to see work done here in Washington,” Obama said. “I think they’re frustrated by the gridlock. They’d like to see more cooperation and I think all of us have a responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen.”
In the United States, a “divided” federal government in which one major political party controls the White House while the other controls one or both chamber of Congress is fairly routine. That split requires elected officials to work across party lines to accomplish anything of substance.