Governor calls for teamwork in Washington
Boxer, meanwhile, said she wants to work with Schwarzenegger “as a team.” Besides, she joked as she sat next to the former Mr. Olympia on her office couch and offered him Austrian cookies, she needs to lift more weights before taking him on. “I’m only up to six pounds,” she said. Beneath the levity, however, Schwarzenegger and the California delegation had a laundry list of issues for the 110th Congress, from helping states cover the costs of jailing illegal immigrants to citrus-freeze disaster relief. With Democrats now in charge of the House and Senate and Schwarzenegger touting his newfound “post-partisanship” the once-estranged groups said they found vast areas of middle ground. WASHINGTON – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger courted congressional Democrats on Tuesday, vowing to work with them to pump up funding for the Golden State. Touting his health care plan and push for immigration reform in meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Schwarzenegger continued his call for bipartisanship and said he wants to be an “inspiration” to Washington. And on the political front, Schwarzenegger and Boxer worked to dispel rumors that he might challenge the junior senator for her seat in 2010. “I don’t think about those things. I don’t want to know what I’m doing four years from now,” Schwarzenegger insisted, adding, “It would be boring for me. That’s why I never did TV shows.” Boxer said she and Schwarzenegger discussed global warming – and he has an “open invitation” to testify before her Environment and Public Works committee – as well as ways to extend the time states have for complying with new federal drivers’ license mandates. Feinstein spent more than 45 minutes talking with Schwarzenegger and pledged to help him expand the federal children’s health insurance program and work together on levees, communications and the environment. “We want to be helpful to him and he wants to be helpful to us,” Feinstein said. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, who leads the California Democratic delegation and helped organize a bipartisan meeting with Schwarzenegger, said she was encouraged. “I thought there was a lot more give and take” than previous meetings, which, she said, were essentially photo opportunities empty of substance. Republicans, meanwhile, continued to express skepticism – particularly about Schwarzenegger’s desire to see an immigration plan that allows illegal aliens to obtain citizenship. “It has the same flaw that the president’s (plan) has,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, said he thinks the governor is “trying to walk a different path than the position he was elected on” and said he opposes Schwarzenegger’s plan. Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, sidestepped a question of endorsing Schwarzenegger’s immigration platform, saying he was unaware the governor never discussed advocating citizenship for illegal immigrants. But when asked whether House Republicans might still be in power if they moved in a more moderate direction like Schwarzenegger, Dreier replied, “Yeah, I guess so.” Rohrabacher, however, panned Schwarzenegger’s bipartisan message. “There’s a purpose of a two-party system. It’s to give people a choice. For us to meld together and not offer distinct policy choices is contrary to the American system,” he said. email@example.com (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!