Politico calls it President Obama's "Plan B," while the Huffington Post see it as the start of a "charm offensive." Whatever the name, it begins tonight as Obama hosts eight Republican senators at a dinner at a posh hotel near the White House. (John McCain is the most familiar name of the bunch.) It continues next week as Obama heads to Capitol Hill to visit the weekly meetings of both House and Senate Republicans. The president is said to be pursuing the elusive "grand bargain" of a long-term budget deal now that the immediate deadline related to the sequester has come and gone. Obama's $4 trillion plan reportedly includes $600 billion in new tax revenue.
The shift from lashing out at Republicans to wooing them comes as polls suggest that the public is getting weary of Obama's "post-election bellicosity," says Politico. And pursuing a big-picture deal seems possible now that it appears Congress will avoid the next potential crisis—the potential shutdown of the government on March 27, reports the Washington Post. The House today passed a bill to fund the government for the full fiscal year, keeping the sequester cuts in place but giving the Pentagon more flexibility on how to manage its defense cuts. The Senate is expected to follow suit before the deadline arrives, with Democrats trying to give the same leeway to domestic programs.