Obama, Biden re-up charm offensive with GOP senators

President Barack Obama speaks on proposals to reduce gun violence as Vice President Joe Biden watches on January 16, 2013 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House in Washington, D.C.
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Updated: 1:39 p.m. ET

With a handful of controversial legislative proposals on the table in Congress in the coming months, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are keeping up the charm offensive among Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, meeting with GOP senators as part of an ongoing push to gin up support for issues like immigration reform and a budget bill.

According to a White House official, Mr. Obama and Biden have recently met with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Biden met privately with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., as well. According to a Graham spokesperson, the South Carolina senator discussed immigration and budget issues with the the administration. A spokesperson for Isakson said he and the vice president had breakfast earlier this year primarily to discuss the Savannah Harbor expansion project in Georgia. And according to The Hill newspaper, Biden has been making calls to various Republican lawmakers to ramp up support for the administration's agenda on gun safety.

Biden has been a key actor in the administration's efforts to pass a package of new gun measures since early this year, and Mr. Obama has recently taken up a more personal approach to retail politics, showing up on Capitol Hill for meetings and hosting meals with his Republican adversaries.

With a Senate vote on the horizon for a bill that would strengthen background checks for gun purchases, their efforts could be critical in finding the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and pass the legislation. Meanwhile, both parties are furiously working on a plan for immigration reform that can pass both chambers, as well as a full-year fiscal year budget plan.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said yesterday he is "working very hard with both Democrats and Republicans, pro-NRA and anti-NRA people" to develop a background check bill that will be "acceptable to 60 senators and be very strong and get the job done."

"It's very hard," he said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We're working hard and I'm very hopeful that we can get this passed."

Clarification: An earlier version of this story cited The Hill newspaper's reporting that that the White House conversations with Sens. McCain, Graham, and Isakson were specifically about gun control. Further reporting revealed that gun control may not have come up in those meetings.