President Joe Biden held his first meeting with Republican and Democratic House and Senate leaders since taking office on Wednesday, ahead of a critical time in Congress for his agenda on issues such as infrastructure, gun control fire and police reform.
The highly anticipated White House session, which lasted around 90 minutes, included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Who said last week that he was “100% focused on l ‘shutdown’ of Biden’s administration, and House Minority Leader. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), A leading ally of former President Donald Trump who voted to overturn Biden’s election to Congress.
The trip to McCarthy and McConnell’s Oval Office is the first since the president’s inauguration in January. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), who were also in attendance, have previously met Biden in the White House.
Biden said he would like to work with both sides to resolve the many issues facing the country, such as crumbling roads, bridges and waterways. But his plans to overhaul the country’s infrastructure and create jobs – totaling more than $ 4 trillion – face stiff opposition from the GOP in Congress. Leading Republican lawmakers this week reiterated that there are some things they will not agree to in any bipartisan deal: higher taxes on businesses and wealthy Americans.
“We’re not interested in reopening the 2017 tax bill. It’s a red line,” McConnell said Wednesday after meeting with Biden.
For Democrats, who control both legislative chambers, reaching a bipartisan deal is best, but not necessarily. The party can strengthen itself through an infrastructure bill on an online party vote with a simple majority in the Senate. But going alone has its risks, including getting every Democrat to agree on what the bill should include and how to pay for it. Democrats in the House and Senate are already arguing over the tax increases in the package.
“We said we would explore where we could come to an agreement and come to a bipartisan agreement,” Schumer said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We will do everything to get one.”
The meeting with top Republicans will test Biden’s reputation as a negotiator – as well as his campaign optimism that the Republican Party is turning a page after Trump. Two years ago this week, for example, Biden predicted that the GOP would have an “epiphany” and start working with Democrats once Trump is removed from office.
“The thing that will fundamentally change things is that Donald Trump comes out of the White House. It’s no joke, ”Biden said in 2019 during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “You will see a revelation unfold among many of my Republican friends.”
There has been little evidence of an epiphany so far, however. While there have been new negotiations in Congress over police reform and gun safety, agreement on either of the deeply contentious issues has proven elusive.
The GOP is in fact embracing the very kind of denial and lies that led to the insurgency on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. House Republicans on Wednesday voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) – a staunch conservative who refused to accept Trump’s lies about the 2020 election – from their leaders. Last week, the former president again called the elections “rigged” and “stolen”.
Despite clear evidence to the contrary, McCarthy, who supported Cheney’s ouster, insisted it was all in the rearview mirror.
“I don’t think anyone is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” McCarthy told the White House. “I think it’s over. We’re sitting here with the chair today.
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