BIPARTISANSHIP MUST BE A TWO WAY STREET
U.S. Politics – February 1, 2021
CONGRESS -BIPARTISAN-COVID-19-JOE BIDEN
By Nathaniel Ballantyne
Bipartisan must always be a two way street where the party in power seeks to include the minority. But lately bipartisan seems to be applicable only when the Democrats are in power. When Republicans controlled the senate, they jammed three Supreme Court justices without a hint of a request for bipartisan, now they are in the minority they are singing a different tune.
Later today, 10 Senate Republicans will meet President Joe Biden at the White House to make a counteroffer to Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan and to discuss their idea. It’s expected to total about $600 billion, less than a third of Biden’s proposal. But will the president actually entertain it, and counter the counter?
It’s pretty clear that Democratic leadership thinks the idea is a joke and is ready to move ahead with reconciliation. But there’s more ambiguity — and perhaps internal division — among White House officials about how to handle the GOP offer.
Some Biden advisers are starting to argue that Biden can pass the bipartisan test without Republican votes. You read that right. “Even with narrow majorities in Congress, [Biden] has the opportunity to build broad bipartisan support for his program — not necessarily in Congress but with the America people,” ANITA DUNN told John Harwood in a piece for CNN over the weekend.
But we’ve also heard from administration officials lately who do want to cut a deal. The question on everyone’s mind seems to be: Will Biden endure the wrath of the left — and possibly even his own leadership — to go for a less ambitious package?
So far the answer looks like no. And some moderate Republicans are privately expressing disappointment that Biden hasn’t done more to hold Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER and Speaker NANCY PELOSI back from plowing ahead with reconciliation. One of them told us Sunday afternoon that Biden says “all this great stuff about unity, but it’s like that old Wendy’s commercial: ‘Where’s the beef?’”
Still, it’s noteworthy that Biden has offered to meet with these 10 Senate Republicans before he’s huddled with congressional Democratic rank and file on this matter. And Biden’s invitation comes as even some senior Democrats argue the GOP offer is far too low to be taken seriously at this point considering Democrats control all the levels of power in Washington.
Republicans are never timid about using their power to advance their ideas and policies. Democrats should not be timid either. What is the need of having power if you are afraid to use it? The American people voted for Democrats because they want relief, they want results not ever ending discussions about bipartisan when the Republicans are not even serious about it. Their offer of $600 billion from $1.9 Trillion is a joke that cannot be taken seriously. Democrats must advance the will of the people by any means necessary including reconciliation.