Merkley has first White House chat

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley wasn’t disappointed by his first White House meeting with President Barack Obama.

Senate Budget Committee members, including Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, met with Obama on Wednesday to discuss next year’s plan for federal spending.

“It was a pretty cool thing with him sitting there holding a discussion about how to go forward,” Merkley said.

Merkley used his chance to put in a plug for a pet issue: slowing global warming.

“The issue related to the budget I weighed in on was to thank him for putting the cap-and-trade plan to tackle global warming into the budget,” Merkley said. “To say to him this was perhaps the most important moral issue we face.

“The president responded by observing that he knew we had to wrestle with issues … such as impacts on manufacturing and on coal states,” Merkley said.

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