Wash Post: Biden Redefining Bipartisanship President Joe Biden speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2021. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner | Monday, 12 April 2021 02:24 PM
President Joe Biden is redefining what the word "bipartisan" means, and it doesn’t necessarily mean support from Republicans in Congress, reports The Washington Post.
Biden is pushing for bipartisan support of his sweeping $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and touted the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package as a bipartisan victory.
"If you looked up 'bipartisan' in the dictionary, I think it would say support from Republicans and Democrats," Anita Dunn, a senior Biden adviser, told the Post. "It doesn’t say the Republicans have to be in Congress."
Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff for former President Barack Obama, told the newspaper, "what’s become crystal clear is that Biden has redefined bipartisan.
"It isn’t how many Republicans I’ve got," but "about how many Republican voters or mayors and governors can I get to support my staff.
"And Washington is slow to catch up to the Biden definition."
Biden in March acknowledged as much.
"When I wrote it, everybody said I had no bipartisan support. We’re overwhelming bipartisan support with Republican – registered Republican voters," Biden said when discussing his American Jobs Plan in Pittsburgh.
"And ask around. If you live in a town with a Republican mayor, a Republican county executive, or a Republican governor, ask them how many would rather get rid of the plan. Ask them if it helped them at all."
The president then said, "I hope Republicans in Congress will join this effort."
Biden faces stiff opposition from Republicans on Capitol Hill to enact his $2 trillion proposal but is looking to seek support from GOP lawmakers when he is scheduled to meet with Republican Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Roger Wicker of Mississippi and GOP Reps. Garret Graves of Louisiana and Don Young of Alaska at the White House Monday.
"It's all open to negotiation," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday ahead of the meeting, adding that Biden "absolutely is" willing to negotiate with Republicans.
An aide for Wicker told NBC News Republicans were "wary whether today's meeting and others like it are truly an effort on working out a bipartisan deal or if they are about window dressing that will lead to another Democrat-only reconciliation process," adding that the senator planned to tell Biden how his plan "leads to a lack of trust."
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Biden should truly look for bipartisan support.
"A Senate evenly split between both parties and a bare Democratic House majority are hardly a mandate to ‘go it alone,’" Romney tweeted. "The President should live up to the bipartisanship he preached in his inaugural address."