The White House Says Bills Are Bipartisan Even If The Republican Party Doesn’t Vote For Them


The White House wants to change the way people perceive bipartisanship, arguing that if they come up with proposals backed by Republicans and independents, they should be seen as bipartisan even if Republican lawmakers in Washington don’t vote for them.

The effort took shape when Democrats passed a massive and widely popular $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure with zero support from the Republican Party, and it continues as the party seems increasingly poised to pass another infrastructure measure of $ 2.25 trillion in Congress with Democratic votes alone.

President BidenJoe BidenJobs report adds to Biden’s push White House says bills are bipartisan even if Republican Party doesn’t vote for them Trump calls for boycott of MLB to move All-Star Game MORE he campaigned as a unit candidate who would work with Republicans, and the Republican Party has increasingly criticized him for turning his back on that vote with Democratic-only grand measures.

But the White House has ignored the criticism and vowed to take big steps at a critical time to help the economy and address inequality and other needs that it says have been ignored for too long.

Biden officials argue that the measures they propose have broad public support from members of both parties in polls, and that some of the ideas have been endorsed by Republican lawmakers in the past.

“Biden is betting that Congress is more divided than the country and, with the ability to appeal directly to the voter on policy issues, he can bypass a polarized Congress that will likely take a long time to act together in terms of working across the board. hallway, ”said a Democratic strategist.

Republicans struggled to execute a coherent strategy to reject Biden’s coronavirus bill, which funded, among other things, direct payments of $ 1,400 that won the support of the majority of American voters and Republicans in particular. Previous President TrumpDonald Trump White House Says Bills Are Bipartisan Even If The Republican Party Doesn’t Vote For Them he had also been a strong supporter of direct payments.

The White House could also signal the support of Republican governors and mayors, whose states and localities were hit hard by the pandemic, for the bill.

“Delivering on the American people is what the American Rescue Plan was all about,” Biden said in Pittsburgh this week when presenting his next legislative proposal, which mirrors the employment plan he presented in the election campaign.

“It has been overwhelmingly popular. If you live in a city with a Republican mayor, Republican county executive, or Republican governor, ask them how many would rather ditch the plan. Ask them if it helped them. That’s what the American Jobs Plan is all about, the new one I propose. “

Asked about the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhite House says the bills are bipartisan even if the Republican Party does not vote for them Officer killed in vehicular attack on Capitol identified Night defense: 1 officer killed, 1 injured after car struck barrier of the Capitol | Army suspends multiple service members on sexual assault allegations MOREIn vocal opposition (R-Ky.) To the infrastructure package on Friday, Biden suggested that Republican lawmakers will feel pressure from their voters to accept his proposal, citing provisions that would replace lead pipes and repair veterans hospitals.

“I think Republican voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get to do a lot of this,” Biden told reporters.

However, Biden is sure to face a longer and more difficult battle to get his infrastructure and climate plan approved.

Republicans have criticized the proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and spend billions on electric cars and other investments to make the country more resilient to climate change. Meanwhile, some progressives have argued that the bill is not big enough and does not do enough to address climate change, complicating Biden’s efforts to keep his party together in one package.

Republicans believe that the longer it takes Congress to pass the infrastructure bill, the less popular it will be. They see the legislative work as an opportunity to defend voters that its components do not qualify as infrastructure and that their tax increases are bad policy.

“The Republican resistance to the first stimulus bill was disorganized and futile,” said Republican strategist Colin Reed. “This is a mulligan for Republicans. Hopefully, they’ll do better this time. “

The White House says it expects the bill to cross the finish line by the summer, but will give Biden time to meet with Republican and Democratic lawmakers about possible adjustments.

White House Chief of Staff Ron KlainRon KlainWhite House says the bills are bipartisan even if the GOP doesn’t vote for them Jayapal: Republicans ‘aren’t really interested in bipartisanship’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden may find zero GOP support for plan employment MORE said this week that Biden hopes the package will attract bipartisan support in Congress, but made it clear that it was not a necessity, opening the door to pass a package using budget reconciliation, the same mechanism used to pass the coronavirus law and dodge an obstructionism.

“We know you have bipartisan support in the country and therefore we will do everything we can to get bipartisan support here in Washington,” Klain said during a virtual interview with Politico.

A recent Morning Consult / Politico poll found that a plurality of Republicans (42 percent) support making infrastructure improvements, but without tax increases. Thirty-two percent of Republicans say they support infrastructure improvements with tax increases.

The White House is also confident of support for the package among Republican mayors and governors, given the benefits of investments to improve infrastructure in local areas and keep cities and states vibrant.

“[Biden is] changing the place or location of bipartisanship, ”said Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, noting that historically bipartisan work is considered to be located in the halls of Congress. “Now, we are moving it to the field.”

Republicans reject the idea that a bill can be bipartisan if it is not passed with bipartisan support in Washington.

“The reality is, if you’re going through budget reconciliation on something, you’re doing it because you’re not going to get bipartisan support,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and former deputy chief of staff for the former Republican Party. House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan Cantor The White House says the bills are bipartisan even if the Republican Party does not vote for them Trump the X factor in the Virginia gubernatorial race Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as head of the House of the United States PLUS (Virginia.).

By countering Republicans’ arguments, the White House is expected to bring home the notion that aspects of the infrastructure package, such as expanding apprenticeships and funding for new roads and bridges, have bipartisan support.

Democrats argue that Biden’s approach will serve them well, especially if the economy is doing well when voters go to the polls for the 2022 midterm elections.

“It takes two to be a unit president. I think Republicans have been thoughtful in saying no, and I certainly don’t think I hurt Biden with the stimulus bill, “said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the Democratic centrist think tank Third Way. “What I hope the White House will do is begin to redefine what bipartisan means. If the blanket bill includes many elements that have broad bipartisan support, they will point to those elements. “

The White House will define bipartisanship, Kessler said, “not in what happens in the final vote on the bill, but in the level of bipartisanship in the elements that make up the main pieces.”

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