by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden insisted during his first White House press conference that he is committed to bipartisan cooperation with Congress and transparency on the border — as long as both happen on his terms.
Asked if he had “rejected bipartisanship” after signing a nearly $2 trillion spending bill that passed without a single Republican vote, Biden replied, “No, not at all.” He rejected Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s characterization of him as a captive of the far Left.
“When is the last time a president invited the opposite party down at least a half a dozen times to talk about issues?” Biden asked. “Everything from how we work — we’re working with a group of 20 members of the Senate right now and House on how we reestablish our ability to make computer chips and how we get ahead of the game, how we can work together. And we’re working together on a bunch of things.”
Biden suggested that he is willing to work with Republicans in Congress — provided they support much of his agenda. And he signaled that his support for the filibuster, which effectively sets a 60-vote threshold for most legislation to pass the Senate, was contingent on getting at least some of their cooperation.
“Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible,” Biden said when asked why he didn’t want to scrap the filibuster outright already. “Let’s figure out how we can get this done and move in the direction of significantly changing the abuse of even the filibuster rule first.”
Biden sought to drive a wedge between Republican elected officials and their voters. Some liberal policies, such as raising the federal minimum wage or increasing some federal spending to stimulate the economy during the pandemic, poll reasonably well with self-identified GOP voters.