Obama to Meet with Lawmakers, Former Presidents

CHICAGO (AP) -- President-elect Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders to discuss his economic stimulus plan and other legislative issues soon after his arrival in Washington in the coming days.

Obama and his family planned to fly to Washington on Sunday after their holiday vacation in Hawaii and a stopover in Chicago.

The president-elect was to meet with congressional leaders Monday, according to a senior Democratic congressional aide. Obama will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then join with them in a meeting with GOP leaders, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to discuss the plans.

Obama was also scheduled to talk with President George W. Bush and former presidents at the White House on Wednesday.

Obama, his wife Michelle, and their children left his native Hawaii on Thursday after a 12-day vacation and flew to Chicago, arriving early Friday. The Obamas planned to go to Washington on Sunday so 7-year-old Sasha and 10-year-old Malia can start school on Monday.

The Obamas aren't set to move into the president-elect's traditional Washington quarters until Jan. 15. In the interim, the first family-in-waiting will stay at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House.

The Obamas kept a low profile while vacationing on the island of Oahu. Aside from daily trips to the gym and golf courses, the president-elect seldom left his vacation retreat, a rented $9 million home near Honolulu. When he did venture out, it usually was to grab some shave ice, a local treat, go to the zoo or take some other child-friendly excursion.

Michelle Obama similarly remained out of sight, other than the occasional trip to the gym. She did not join Obama and the girls when they went to an aquatic park or to the zoo, nor when he visited the nearby Marine base on Christmas Day.

While on vacation, Obama tried to take advantage of his last break before being sworn in as the nation's 44th president on Jan. 20.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress want to enact the still-emerging economic recovery plan as soon as possible after he takes office.

The plan, which some Obama aides think could swell to about $850 billion after negotiations with lawmakers, would be the largest investment in public infrastructure since the federal highway system was established in the 1950s. It also would provide tens of billions in dollars of aid to financially strapped states.

During his holiday, Obama stayed largely out of the escalating hostilities in the Middle East, where Israeli troops have launched an offensive against Hamas leaders who fired rockets from Gaza. Aides say there is only one president at a time, but Obama received security briefings and spoke with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and his incoming national security team.

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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