Despite Biden’s pleas for a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, his first major legislative effort for coronavirus relief has apparently eschewed any invitations to cross-party collaboration. Yet, his gigantic COVID-relief package has also angered progressives.
President Biden met with a group of Republican senators hoping to start bipartisan negotiations on the next round of coronavirus relief on Monday though they did not reach a compromise.
- Despite the effort by the GOP senators, Biden’s bipartisan spirit of compromise appears to have been a ghost, as Biden reportedly told the group he “will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment.”
- According to Politico, alumni of the Obama White House who are currently serving President Biden are “wary” of Republicans after experienced what they called “stonewalling” Obama’s agenda.
- The purpose of the meeting was to provide a starting point on negotiations a few hours after the group of senators released their own coronavirus relief bill, which included less spending and smaller direct payments to fewer Americans, focusing on those who made less than $40,000 a year.
- Despite what Senator Susan Collins called an “excellent” meeting, Congressional Democrats laid the groundwork to use the process of budget reconciliation to pass Biden’s relief bill with a simple majority in the Senate, bypassing filibuster rules.
- Huffington Post ignored the bipartisan meeting and focused its reporting on progressive alarm that Biden’s proposed direct payments are still not enough, saying a commitment was made during the Georgia Senate runoffs for $2,000 payments.
- While Vox reported on the significance of the number of Republican senators behind the counter-proposal (10 would get any compromise bill past the 60-vote threshold to stop filibusters), other reporting gave credence to Democratic congressional leadership moving full steam ahead on the $1.9 trillion proposal by President Biden.
- In its reporting of the meeting, The New York Times’ assessment was frank: “Biden appeared eager to signal” sincerity in bipartisan negotiations but when the meeting ended, the White House’s official position hardened.
- Yuval Levin wrote in National Review that the GOP counter-proposal was, substantively and strategically, “a smart move”, saying it helps target relief where Republicans say it is needed most and forces Democrats to face the prospect of bailing on Biden’s promises of bipartisan compromise.
- Michael Dorstewitz wrote for Newsmax that Biden’s pitch for cooperation doesn’t pass muster and that he isn’t even interested in working with his own party, citing the brouhaha when Vice President Kamala Harris made a media appearance in West Virginia without any notice being given to the state’s Democratic Senator Joe Machin.
- The Wall Street Journal provided a point-by-point comparison between the Senate GOP and Biden plans, showing the portions with similarities as well as where the plans diverge.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021