S0 it was a good meeting. House Republicans welcomed the chance for a frank exchange of ideas with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
Outreach is always positive, and more Republicans in this town need the opportunity to have an open dialogue with our president. I hope these discussions continue.
Yet, while this may have been the first time some of my colleagues have heard the president's arguments so personally and directly, I've heard them all many times before.
If we're going to find bipartisan solutions, the president will have to move beyond the same proposals and Democratic dogma.
For all of Washington's focus on the president's outreach to Republicans, it's his engagement with members of his own party that will determine whether we succeed in dealing with the challenges facing our economy.
Take the budget.
At a time when our economy continues to limp along and every American's share of our national debt exceeds $52,000, Washington owes the people a responsible, balanced budget.
The plan Republicans introduced this week balances the budget in 10 years. Instead of spending money we don't have to expand government, our budget focuses on growing the economy and improving the lives of American families.
Our balanced budget means more economic security for workers and parents, a more secure retirement for the elderly and more opportunities for younger workers.
Recognizing the reality of divided government, Republicans launched an effort in January to try to bring Senate Democrats to the table.
Republicans' "No Budget, No Pay" law requires Senate Democrats to pass a budget for the first time in four years or lose their salary. This has worked, and if both chambers pass their budgets next week, we'll have another opportunity to reconcile two very different visions for the future.
I don't underestimate the difficulty of this task, especially given that Senate Democrats have no interest in balancing the budget. The president also doesn't share the goal of a balanced budget, despite frequent talk of a "balanced approach."
We need to try, because doing so is vital to ensuring that our children and grandchildren have a chance to live the American dream.
The problem, in large part, is that Democrats refuse to make the tough choices necessary to solve our long-term debt crisis.