President will also have lunch with Senators next week...
UPDATE: CLICK HERE for the post about the dinner
President Obama will have dinner with Republican Senators this evening at 6:30 PM at the five-star Jefferson Hotel, the White House has newly announced. The President is also scheduled to dine with GOP Senators next week, when he will meet with lawmakers during their weekly caucus lunch meeting.
Tonight's closed-press dinner with about a dozen Senators comes on the heels of President Obama being criticized by GOP leaders for not doing enough outreach to the opposing party. Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Pat Toomey, Bob Corker, and Ron Johnson are all expected to attend. But due to the winter storm locally known as Snowquester, "the dinner is subject to postponement if the weather deteriorates," the White House said.
Last Friday, as he held a news conference to announce that the sequester would go into effect, the President wondered aloud if he could change his relationship with those on the other side of the aisle.
"Sometimes I reflect...is there something I can do to get these guys to not paint horns on my head?" President Obama said.
The Jefferson Hotel is located close to the White House at 16th Street NW, and President Obama was a frequent visitor during his re-election campaign, when he held many fundraisers at the establishment.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday that President Obama will join a March 14 lunch in the Capitol with the Republican caucus.
"Senate Republicans welcome the president to the Capitol. And I appreciate he took my recommendation to hear from all of my members,” McConnell said.
"We promised the American people that we would cut Washington spending, and the president signed those cuts into law. We have numerous challenges facing the country and Republicans have offered the president serious solutions to shrink Washington spending and grow the economy. And we will have an opportunity to discuss them with the President at the lunch."
The call to set up the meeting was made by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
A meeting with House Republicans is also in the works, though it hasn't been scheduled yet, according to House Speaker John Boehner's office.
Update, 1:23 PM: Press Secretary Jay Carney issued this statement about the President's schedule next week: "Next week, the President will travel to Capitol Hill and meet separately with the Democratic and Republican caucuses in both the House and Senate. The President asked for the opportunity to speak to the caucuses about the priorities on his legislative agenda. More details about the time and day of each meeting will be announced later."
Winter storm Saturn on Wednesday offered some snowfall in the District, but has not pummeled the nation's Capitol with the same ferocity as it has in areas outside the Beltway, where at least a foot of snow has fallen in Northern Virginia. The federal government is shut down today, though the current weather action in DC is primarily rain.
The President's next dinner outing will be this Saturday, when he attends the annual Gridiron Club dinner in DC.
*Photo by Chuck Kennedy/White House, taken during the news conference