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Obama agenda: Bowles and Simpson respond

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairmen of the president’s debt commission, write in The Hill that President Obama’s budget “takes some important steps toward putting this country on a more sustainable path.” But, they add about tackling entitlements, “Now it is incumbent upon him and leaders in Congress to provide the leadership necessary to create an environment in which a serious discussion can occur… [B]y focusing primarily on domestic discretionary spending, neither plan goes at all far enough to deal with our medium- or long-term fiscal challenges.”

More from the duo: “The nation desperately needs bipartisan leadership grounded in shared sacrifice, not politics as usual. Americans are counting on us to put politics aside, pull together — not pull apart — and agree on a plan to live within our means and make America strong for the long haul.”

“President Barack Obama is expanding his outreach to Capitol Hill by inviting House Democratic leaders to a White House lunch Thursday,” Roll Call writes, adding, “Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley will meet in the Oval Office with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) at 12:15 p.m., according to a White House statement Wednesday. … Several lawmakers will also be at the White House on Thursday for a morning discussion about reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act. According to the White House, Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) are expected to attend, as well as Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Dale Kildee (D-Mich.).”

“Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Russia next month as part of a three-country trip to Eastern Europe and Scandinavia,” The Hill reports. “Biden is scheduled to depart the U.S. the week of March 7, but further details surrounding his visit have yet to be released.”