Moderate Republicans, many of whom have met with President Joe Biden to negotiate the administration’s pandemic relief bill, came away from the president’s address to the joint session of Congress doubtful about his calls for bipartisanship and unity.
After the first 100 days, many of those GOP lawmakers who were hopeful about Biden’s desire to work with them across the aisle are now more cynical about how much input Democrats actually want from Republicans.
“I was very hopeful with the tone he set that [Inauguration] day, and I said so at the time. And yet that rhetoric has not been matched by action. It hasn’t been matched by action when it comes to key policy initiatives they’ve already put forward, including the latest COVID-19 spending bill that passed in March. Remember, despite a 50-50 Senate and very tight majority in the House of Representatives, there was no outreach to Republicans on the COVID-19 legislation,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in a speech on Thursday.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in a statement, “As I sat and listened to the remarks tonight, I’m left with a strong concern at the lack of bipartisanship shown in the first 100 days. I call on President Biden to follow through on his inaugural promise to work in a bipartisan manner, and to spend the next 100 days working to build consensus across the aisle.”
“That is the only way to truly bring people together, make progress for the betterment of our nation, and craft enduring solutions for generations to come,” Murkowski added.
During his joint address to Congress, Biden praised the Democrat leaders for coming together with Republicans to pass the $1.8 trillion American Rescue Plan, but no Republican senator voted in favor of the bill, which passed through budget reconciliation with 50 votes.
Republicans are concerned that Biden is going to continue with his approach to getting his legislation passed with the simple majority, and many top Democrats including Biden have hinted that they would be willing to go it alone by getting rid of the 60-vote rule in the Senate.
BY MASOOMA HAQ