Last year, Obama had little success in dealing with Republican lawmakers. He hosted groups of Republican senators for dinner, and his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, tried to repair relations with several key senators. But this achieved no significant legislative breakthroughs, although both parties, led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), arrived at a budget deal in December.
Still, the White House and Democratic lawmakers remain hopeful of compromise with Republicans in a few key areas, namely the push for comprehensive immigration reform.
In Tuesday night’s speech, you can count on Obama urging the assembled lawmakers to rise above party. It’s a theme he has touched on in just about every major speech of his presidency.
As Obama said in his 2013 “State of the Union,” the American people “don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.”