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The rhetoric of White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggests that President Joe Biden has very little actual interest in unity and bipartisanship.
During a White House press briefing Friday, a day before the Democrats’ ostensible coronavirus relief bill made it through the Senate on a strictly partisan vote, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond pressed Psaki twice about whether the president is interested in trying to “win over at least one” Republican senator.
But the White House press secretary refused to directly answer the question, choosing instead the first time around to tout the need to get the bill “across the finish line.”
“Well, the President remains deeply engaged in getting this across the finish line. He takes nothing for granted. And I fully expect him to be on the phone through the weekend with Democrats and Republicans as needed, just answering questions they have, addressing needs they have,” she said.
“Obviously, he had a number of people to the Oval Office just this week. So he takes …,” she added before being cut off by Diamond.
“How much of a priority is it for him to get at least one Republican senator to support this bill?” the CNN reporter asked, trying once again to squeeze out a real answer.
While Psaki again avoided being direct, this time she at least made it fairly clear in other ways that Biden’s only focus is getting through the legislation that he wants.
“Well, I think the President’s measure of success here is whether we get the package through so we can deliver relief to the American people,” she said.
I.e., his measure of success is whether he gets what he wants, which in this case is a bill that’s facing backlash from the right and left over its litany of problematic provisions.
“And we welcome the support of Republicans in the Senate. We’re open to answering questions, to addressing concerns they have but, at the end of the day, our focus and the President’s priority is on ensuring that almost 160 million people receive direct checks,” the press secretary continued.
Including incarcerated prison inmates, FYI.
Tom Cotton: Dem relief bill gives Boston bomber, mass murderer Dylann Roof $1400 checks, and it gets worse https://t.co/QCxU2mUA84 pic.twitter.com/9Bo1R5anhN
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 7, 2021
Psaki added that Biden is also concerned about “providing money to schools … so that they can reopen.”
Never mind that Senate Democrats rejected a GOP-proposed amendment that would have mandated that schools reopen to receive the grant money.
They also rejected an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz that would have granted $10,000 to families who’re stuck with closed schools so they could afford to send their children to a school that’s open.
“We’re still in the middle of a crisis. We’re in the — still in the middle of a war with the pandemic. And he welcomes their support, but his focus is on the American people,” the press secretary concluded.
Yet less than half of the $1.9 billion pertains to the coronavirus, and far less than that is to actually be provided as direct relief to the American people.
The majority of the bill funds pet Democrat causes, from a bridge in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s district to a subway sought by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s allies in Silicon Valley.
There’s a reason Republicans have called the bill “The Pelosi Payoff.”
Kevin McCarthy dubs pandemic relief bill ‘The Pelosi Payoff’ and posts jaw-dropping pie graph to prove it https://t.co/JyiXvcJRFK pic.twitter.com/4lqYDZr6jQ
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 25, 2021
Dovetailing back to Psaki’s presser, the reason she had such difficulty in answering Diamond’s clear-cut question about bipartisanship may stem from the fact that she doesn’t know what bipartisan means. Really.
Earlier in the presser, another reporter brought up Biden’s past remarks about unity and contrasted them to his approach to the relief bill.
“I know you’re focused on the COVID bill, but when the American Rescue Plan was first introduced, President Biden was very encouraged that there would be bipartisan support for it. It does not appear that there will be any bipartisan support for it,” the reporter said.
In response, Psaki trotted out a completely fabricated definition of bipartisanship.
“[B]ipartisanship is not determined by a single zip code in Washington, D.C. It’s about where the American people sit and stand, and the vast majority of the American people support the American Rescue Plan, including Republicans,” she claimed.
That is not how bipartisanship works …
First of all, 49 Republicans were elected to the Senate to represent the American people, and every single one of them voted against the relief bill Saturday.
And secondly, true bipartisanship mandates negotiation and compromise, according to its real definition.
Bipartisan is “marked by or involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between two major political parties,” as defined by Merriam-Webster.
Yet Democrats have been up for neither. Nor has Biden, meaning that no, he isn’t interested in unity or bipartisanship.
Biden wants unity and bipartisanship but only if Democrats get their way on everything. https://t.co/Sxbtkvfweg
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) March 7, 2021
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