Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to satisfy just about every political faction in America. Promising to implement the most progressive agenda in American history while claiming to possess the willingness to work with congressional Republicans leaves little room for the ideological partisanship we see today. A group of ten Republican senators were called in to meet with President Biden and discuss the Senate Republicans’ $618 billion coronavirus aid package and the potential for compromise with the Democrats’ proposed $1.9 trillion package.
Despite this olive branch from the new administration, Senate Democrats have already moved forward to bypass any negotiation attempts or debate over their version of the relief bill. After Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) had bragged about the group’s talk with President Biden, critics have already begun to point out the foolishness of Republicans for even taking the meeting seriously. No concessions were secured, no compromises were spoken of, and the only revealing information made public was about the meeting’s pleasantries and desire to have more discussions in the future.
An interesting detail about the ten Republican senators invited to this meeting was in their prior condemnations of former President Trump and three members’ subsequent votes to allow Trump’s impeachment trial to proceed in the Senate. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Susan Collins all sided with Democrats at the time. They were against Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) point of order vote challenging the impeachment trial’s constitutionality regarding a former officeholder. It is no coincidence that three of the five Republicans who voted against Trump wrote a letter to President Biden requesting a meeting meant to compromise on a coronavirus relief bill in Congress.
The group of GOP senators that visited the White House appears complicit in President Biden’s attempts to win positive coverage for his phony efforts at bipartisanship. Media outlets reported on the meeting, expecting some breaking news to arise from the GOP’s last-ditch attempt at securing concessions. With news of Senate Democrats already successfully voting to proceed on a budget resolution bringing them closer to the reconciliation process, Republican voters have been left immensely confused. What happened to the supposedly successful talks with Biden regarding a bipartisan compromise on coronavirus relief? The most contested aspects of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion relief bill will be the proposed state government bailouts and tied-in efforts to raise the minimum wage that may or may not make it into the budget resolution.
Senate Democrats have already shown their hand and are willing to fast-track the budget reconciliation process if the party voting bloc remains united. So far, a compromise seems unlikely. The hopes of the GOP seem to reside with moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is reportedly at odds with the relief bill’s controversial aspects. Former President Trump’s impeachment trial will hinder the Democrats’ efforts to fast-track their bill. Still, the trial itself might further fracture the teetering Republican Party if any of its senators vote to convict the former president. Ultimately, Senate Republicans have been completely outmaneuvered, reduced to a groveling faction fighting amongst itself as it feebly seeks out concessions for America’s future. Only time will tell how much further President Biden intends to dismiss his own calls for bipartisanship.
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