Obama chief of staff pick to meet with Republicans

  • World
  • Thursday, 20 Nov 2008

MYT 12:02:37 AM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's pick for White House chief of staff plans to meet with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Obama's transition team said in a statement.

The statement said little about the subject of the meetings but said Rahm Emanuel would "discuss how to best work together and ensure they know that the White House will be open at all times for them."

Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) speaks with Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) during a Chicago 2016 Olympics rally in Chicago June 6, 2008. (REUTERS/John Gress/Files)

Emanuel, an Illinois congressman whose appointment as chief of staff was announced shortly after the Nov. 4 election, is a member of the Democratic leadership.

Emanuel's meeting comes as the Democratic-led Congress was running into difficulty in its push to pass a bailout for the distressed U.S. auto industry. Obama has said he believes the struggling industry needs a cash infusion.

The last ditch effort to extend $25 billion in aid to General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC hinged on negotiations that are supported by Republicans and the "lame-duck" White House.

Congress has at most two days remaining in its post-election session. Without a deal in that time, automakers will likely have to wait until the new Congress and the Obama administration are in place in January.

The list of priorities on Obama's domestic agenda for next year is long. Despite the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, Obama will need cooperation from some Republicans to accomplish his goals.

One of his biggest short-term aims is to push through an economic stimulus bill. He will also seek an overhaul of Wall Street regulations and a revamping of the healthcare system.

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