President Joe Biden lambasted partisanship and a fractured Republican Party ahead of his first address before a joint session of Congress, during which he is expected to detail a massive spending plan focused on boosting families via child care and other programs.
“Everybody talks about can I do anything bipartisan? Well, I got to figure out if there's a party to deal with,” Biden told television network anchors ahead of his remarks on Wednesday.
“We need a Republican Party. We need another party, whatever you call it, that’s unified — not completely splintered and fearful of one another,” he said.
Biden took office claiming that he would govern for everyone in America, and he promised to show the federal government can work by rejecting the bitter partisanship that has stymied major legislation for over a decade.
On Wednesday night, he is expected to unveil a $1.8 trillion spending and tax credit bill aimed at boosting families.
But there appears to be little chance that the bill will draw the Republican backing needed to clear the Senate through normal procedures, which require 60 votes to end debate and tee up a final vote.
Biden's earlier coronavirus package drew no Republican votes, and his $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal appears to be similarly fated.
Administration officials have cited polling to tout bipartisan backing for major policy measures beyond Washington in an attempt to pressure some GOP members into supporting the president's packages, a strategy Biden himself pointed to on Wednesday, relating it to his victory in the presidential election.
“That's why I put so much focus on making my case directly to the American people,” he said. “We talk about, you know, ‘Can you unite the parties?' Well, I united the Democratic Party, and no one thought it could happen and pretty damn quickly.”
Biden will close the door on his first 100 days in office with a visit on Thursday to Georgia, where he will meet with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter and deliver remarks about his twin spending plans, both being pushed under a broad definition of “infrastructure.”
Republicans, however, say the definition busts traditional uses of the word — and would do the same for federal coffers.
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