POSTED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 8:03am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Today President Obama gives sort of a preview of next week's State Of The Union Address - but behind closed doors.
He's laying out his second term agenda to Senate Democrats at their retreat near Washington, D.C.
Some of the issues the President wants to deal with may be a tough sell even among Democrats.
President Obama's trying push Medicare reform and an assault weapons ban that even some Democrats oppose. His job today: to get his own party behind him. "That's not assured as he gets in his second term because he's dealing with some issues that are internally divisive for Democrats as well as Republicans," said CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent, John Harwood.
Plus there's immigration. Republicans insist on border security first, but Latino groups say 11 million undocumented workers need a path to citizenship. "It can't be dependent on some future Secretary of Homeland Security saying that the border is secure," said Marshall Fitz, Center for American Progress.
And there's new controversy over the administration's unprecedented use of drones to kill suspected terrorists. Again - even some democrats question whether it's too much.
But money's the biggest issue, with 85 billion in automatic cuts looming at the end of this month. The President is pushing for another temporary fix for now: "This balanced mix of spending cuts and tax reform is the best way to finish the job of deficit reduction," said President Barack Obama.
Republicans want more cuts. "The sooner that we solve our spending problem, the sooner our jobs problem will go away as well," said House Speaker John Boehner, (R) Ohio.
The Congressional Budget Office reports unemployment will remain high through next year, but predicts a deficit under a trillion dollars.