November 15, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
HRC to take part in White House talks with civic leaders
HRC President Chad Griffin

HRC President Chad Griffin will take place in White House ‘fiscal cliff’ discussion (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Human Rights Campaign is set to take part in a White House meeting as part of a group of 13 civic leaders, the Washington Blade has learned.

A White House official said HRC President Chad Griffin is expected to represent the organization at the meeting on Friday where President Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden will be in attendance.

Other civic leaders who’ll attend are Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP; and Rev. Al Sharpton.

The discussion will take place after another bipartisan, bicameral meeting earlier in the day with Obama, Biden and congressional leaders: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

At the meeting, which will take place in the Roosevelt Room, leaders are set to discuss the way forward in averting the “fiscal cliff,” or the impending problem of the sequestration of the U.S. budget under the Budget Control Act, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the nation’s continued deficit.

Obama campaigned on letting the Bush tax cuts expire for individuals making more than $250,000 a year, but keep them in place for middle-class families. The White House has said Obama won’t compromise on this campaign pledge, but is willing to work with lawmakers to find a plan that would pass a divided Congress.

“The President has been very clear that he wants to work together with members of Congress in both parties to find common ground to address the challenges facing our nation at the end of the year,” the White House official said. “The President will continue to urge Congress to act on one thing we all agree on — ensuring that taxes don’t go up on 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses at the end of the year.  This would not only give certainty to millions of American families and small businesses but also resolve more than half of the impact of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’”

It’s unclear whether Griffin is participating in the discussion to provide input on averting the “fiscal cliff” or to discuss LGBT issues. Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications, said his organization would put out a statement on the meeting on Friday.

The complete list of participating civic leaders follows:

·         Peter Berns, The Arc

·         Sister Simone Campbell,  NETWORK

·         Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

·         Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)

·         Deepa Iyer  National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

·         Ben Jealous, NAACP

·         Marc Morial, National Urban League

·         Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

·         Barry Rand, AARP

·         Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner,

·         Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network (NAN)

·         Aaron Smith, Young Invincibles

·         Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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