Wrangling with House Republicans over reducing the federal deficit hasn't spurred President Barack Obama into early action helping fellow Democrats regain control of the chamber, the White House said Monday.
With the 2014 midterm elections 20 months in the future, Obama has other goals aside from getting members of his party elected, according to his press secretary Jay Carney.
"It goes without saying the president wants those in his party to do well, but it's not a focus of his, particularly, at this point," Carney said. "He is focused on trying to get a bipartisan consensus around some very important policy objectives."
Those goals include hammering out a big deal with Republicans on reducing the federal deficit, which has thus far eluded the president. While Republicans favor spending cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, Obama and Democrats want to further increase revenue by increasing taxes on wealthy Americans.
But the goals don't end with the debt - Obama has also pressed Congress to pass measures aimed at reducing gun violence, and to approve comprehensive immigration reform legislation. While Republicans have said they're open to certain facets of both, neither is considered a done deal.
While items of Obama's second term agenda would certainly glide through Congress more easily if the House was controlled by Democrats, Carney said Monday Obama was optimistic large pieces of legislation could succeed while Republican were in control.
"The president certainly believes, as other presidents have before him have believed, that its easier sometimes to enact your agenda when you have more members of your party in Congress, but it is also the president's belief - and it is established in fact in recent history - that you can achieve important policy objectives with divided government," Carney said.
While Obama's focus now isn't on electing Democrats to Congress in 2014, he will eventually become involved in his party's attempt to win seats in the midterm elections. Last month, Democratic officials said the president would attend 14 fundraisers in 2013 for Congressional Democrats.
The officials said Obama would appear at 10 events for candidates outside of Washington -- five each for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Each committee will also host an event featuring the president in D.C., and Obama will attend two joint galas for Democratic candidates.
Republicans currently hold a 232-200 majority in the lower chamber. Three seats are vacant. In the Senate, Democrats will be defending 21 of the 35 seats up for grabs in 2014. The president is the Democratic Party's biggest draw, and raised a record amount of money during his 2012 bid for re-election.
But during that campaign, when the president was busy campaigning to get himself re-elected, his efforts to help House Democrats win back the majority were virtually limited to recording one robo-call for Tammy Duckworth, who was running for Congress in his home state of Illinois.
That made House Democrats frustrated with the president and his political operatives. While Democrats gained seats in the House in 2012, they failed to win back the majority.
With the current balance of power in the House, Democrats need 17 seats to win back the majority in 2014.