David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama plans to travel to Capitol Hill next week to meet with congressional Republicans about possible alternatives to the sequester.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who opposes Obama's plan for higher taxes in a new debt deal, said the president will attend the Senate GOP's weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday.
"Republicans have offered the president serious solutions to shrink Washington spending and grow the economy," McConnell said. "And we will have an opportunity to discuss them with the president at the lunch."
Obama is also expected to speak to the Senate Democratic caucus on Tuesday.
In addition, the office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced that Obama has requested a meeting with House Republican members as well.
In an e-mail to GOP members, Boehner Chief of Staff Mike Sommers said Obama "has requested the opportunity to visit with our conference sometime next week to discuss various policy matters, and we are currently working to schedule that meeting. More details to follow."
The planned visits are the latest effort by Obama at outreach to Republicans about the sequester, the $85 million in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1.
Over the weekend, Obama called a string of Republican senators about an alternative debt reduction plan that would include more targeted cuts and new tax revenues to be derived by eliminating loopholes that benefit the wealthy.
"The president is engaging with lawmakers of both parties and will continue to do so," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "He stood before you, I believe it was Friday, and talked about the need for bipartisan work on common ground when it comes to reducing our deficit."
Some Republicans senators or their aides have confirmed they received calls from Obama, including Bob Corker of Tennessee, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Rob Portman of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine.
McConnell, Boehner, and other Republican congressional leaders say they oppose new taxes in a new debt deal, and that it should be strictly spending cuts.
"We promised the American people that we would cut Washington spending, and the president signed those (sequester) cuts into law," McConnell said in his statement.