WASHINGTON The top Democratic leaders in the House hashed out their to-do list Wednesday at a suppertime powwow with President Barack Obama.

"I've left a glass of water here for [ranking member Sen.David Vitter, R-La.

] out of friendship, in the hopes that he'd come, clear his throat, and join us."GOP senator blocking Obama's EPA nominee More diversity among Obama's latest cabinet nomineesThe committee's Republicans, in a letter to Boxer sent on Thursday, explained their boycott of McCarthy's nomination.

"As you know, all Republicans on our EPW Committee have asked EPA to honor five very reasonable and basic requests in conjunction with the nomination of Gina McCarthy which focus on openness and transparency," they wrote.

"While you have allowed EPA adequate time to fully respond before any mark-up on the nomination, EPA has stonewalled on four of the five categories.Because of this, no Republican member of the Committee will attend today's mark-up if it is held.

"The Republicans added that their decision was not entirely without precedent.

"In 2003, Democratic members of the EPW Committee chose not to attend the scheduled mark-up of Michael Leavitt as President Bush's nominee to head the EPA, pending the EPA's responding more fully to their requests," they reminded Boxer., for accusing the Obama administration of "intentionally withholding military assets which could have helped save lives on the night of the attacks," an allegation he said was as "troubling" as it was "simply untrue," if the testimony of top military commanders is to be believed.

Republicans, meanwhile, re-upped criticism of how Secretary Clinton and U.N.

Ambassador Rice responded to the situation in their various roles: Hicks alleged that a lawyer told him not to allow himself "to be personally interviewed" by Rep.Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and that he was generally not allowed to participate in meetings about the incident unless a State Department lawyer was present.

Philippe Reines, Clinton's longtime aide, told NBC Wednesday a lawyer was sent to meetings with diplomats because some at the Tripoli Embassy were uncomfortable with the interactions with Chaffetz, who would not let Democratas participate.