Anita Dunn, an adviser to President Joe Biden, believes Democrats can reach bipartisan goals without working with GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate.
CNN ran an analysis on Biden’s “rare opportunity for early success” in the first days of his administration on Sunday, citing the “emerging alignment of forces holds the promise of two giant early legislative breakthroughs” in the form of economic and coronavirus relief legislation.
Dunn appears to agree that the administration is in a position to score political victories but, per her own words, does not believe it will be entirely necessary for the administration to work with Republican lawmakers to achieve bipartisan goals.
“He’s facing the deepest problems but the biggest opportunities of any president probably since FDR,” Dunn said of the 78-year-old president.
“Even with narrow majorities in Congress, he has the opportunity to build broad bipartisan support for his program — not necessarily in Congress but with the American people,” she said, signaling little hope in working across the aisle. The sentiment appears to stand in stark contrast to Biden’s repeated calls for unity.
“To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity. Unity,” Biden said during his inaugural address, identifying unity as “the path forward.” However, Biden’s definition of unity may not be what it seems on the surface.
“But he explained last week that unity, as he defines it, does not require votes from the congressional Republicans who unyieldingly opposed Obama on every front,” CNN’s John Harwood observed, noting Biden’s desire for popular support and “consensus among experts” — not necessarily support from GOP members of Congress.
Dunn’s remarks match what appears to be the emerging theme of the Biden administration, which has acted unilaterally at a record pace in the early days of Biden’s presidency. The sheer volume of Biden’s executive actions, which exceeded those of his predecessors, prompted six red-state attorneys general to send Biden a cautionary letter, warning they will take legal action if the administration oversteps its constitutional boundaries.
“If cabinet officials, executive officers, and agencies go beyond the bounds of their statutory authority, fail to follow legally required procedures, or fall short of the bedrock Administrative Procedure Act obligation of reasoned decisionmaking, it will likewise be our responsibility to take action,” the attorneys general warned in the January 27 letter.
Ten GOP senators are expected to meet with Biden on Monday to discuss a bipartisan deal on the next coronavirus relief measure. The senators’ plan is smaller in scale, with a roughly $600 billion price tag compared to Biden’s $1.9 trillion.
“We want to work in good faith with you and your administration to meet the health, economic and societal challenges of the covid crisis,” the lawmakers wrote, repeating Biden’s calls for unity.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has since slammed Senate Democrats, specifically, for rejecting bipartisanship in the early days of Biden’s presidency.
“This week, Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders will begin the reconciliation process in an attempt to pass a massive new $2 trillion spending bill – chock full of liberal priorities, including Chuck Schumer’s shady bailout for New York – with only Democrat votes,” the NRSC said in a release.
NRSC Spokesman Chris Hartline said Democrats are already “starting a partisan process to jam their liberal agenda through the Senate with only Democrat votes” and warned that it could hurt Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) more vulnerable members in the long run, including “Mark Kelly, Raphael Warnock, Maggie Hassan, and Catherine Cortez Masto.”
“Do they agree with Schumer and Sanders’ partisan process or do they support Joe Biden’s efforts to negotiate a bipartisan compromise?” he asked.