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Biden convening deficit meeting after recess

April 18, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Gary Fabiano, Getty Images )

It's not another commission, the White House has said. But Vice President Biden will host a May 5 -- Cinco de Mayo, if you will -- meeting with lawmakers from both parties at Blair House to begin working on a deficit reduction plan, the White House announced Monday afternoon.

President Obama had said in his speech last Wednesday that Biden, a 36-year veteran of the Senate, would be heading up talks with legislative leaders when Congress returns from its spring recess.

"The reality is that for anything to pass Congress, you need 60 votes in the Senate and 218 votes in the House. So, you know, we need to build off of all the existing groups, if you will," press secretary Jay Carney said Monday, while denying that the meetings would undermine efforts from another bipartisan group of lawmakers, the so-called "Gang of Six."

It's not immediately clear whether Republicans have signed on to attend the summit, or whether it would be open to the media. A Republican leadership aide said offices were notified late Monday of the planned meeting.

Blair House, located opposite the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, famously played host to the 2010 health care summit that produced little bipartisan agreement but ample public posturing on the president's reform plan.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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