WASHINGTON -- In the first major step to revive his health care agenda after his party's loss of a filibuster-proof Senate majority, President Barack Obama on Sunday invited Republican and Democratic leaders to discuss possible compromises in a televised gathering later this month.
Obama's move came amid widespread complaints that efforts so far by him and his Democratic allies in Congress have been too partisan and secretive.
The Feb. 25 meeting's prospects for success are far from clear. GOP leaders demanded Sunday that Democrats start from scratch, and White House aides said Obama had no plans to do so.
"If we are to reach a bipartisan consensus, the White House can start by shelving the current health spending bill," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio also threw some jabs while accepting Obama's invitation. He said he was glad the White House "finally seems interested in a real, bipartisan conversation," adding that Americans have rejected "the job-killing, trillion-dollar government takeover of health care bills passed by the House and Senate."