Biden Says Compromise But Governs Left

In His First Days In Office, President Biden Has Enacted A Raft Of Left-Wing Executive Orders And Floated Legislative Priorities That ‘Advance A Liberal Agenda’ But ‘Offer Little Compromise’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[O]n the Biden Administration’s very first day, it took several big steps in the wrong direction. The President re-entered the failed Paris climate agreement -- a terrible bargain that would set us up to self-inflict major economic pain on working American families with no assurance that China or Russia would honor their commitments…. The President also unilaterally cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. The day-one priority was to kill thousands of American jobs including union jobs, disappoint our strong ally Canada, and reverse some of our progress toward energy security…. This was not the Day One that American workers deserved. The new Administration has also sketched out a massive proposal for blanket amnesty that would gut enforcement of American laws while creating huge new incentives for people to rush here illegally at the same time…. And for all the talk about norms within government, last night brought an unprecedented move at the National Labor Relations Board. The President fired the Board’s independent general counsel almost a year before the end of his term…. The President can and should refocus his Administration on creating good-paying American jobs, not sacrificing our people’s livelihoods to liberal symbolism.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 1/21/2021)


Despite Biden’s Call For Unity, His First Actions As President Are ‘To Advance A Liberal Agenda’ And ‘Offer Little Compromise’

The Rhetoric: ‘Unity Is The Path Forward … I Will Fight As Hard For Those Who Did Not Support Me As For Those Who Did,’ ‘[The American People] Want Us To Cooperate’

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “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. … I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy. … For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. … This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. … I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” (President Biden, Inauguration Speech, 1/20/2021)

BIDEN: “I ran as a proud Democrat. I will now be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as (for) those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end, here and now. The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate from the American people. They want us to cooperate. That’s the choice I’ll make. And I call on the Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to make that choice with me.” (Joe Biden, Speech, 11/07/2020)

The Reality: ‘Biden’s Centrist Words, Liberal Actions’

AXIOS: “Biden’s centrist words, liberal actions” (“Biden’s Centrist Words, Liberal Actions,” Axios, 1/22/2021)

  • “President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda. … Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.” (“Biden’s Centrist Words, Liberal Actions,” Axios, 1/22/2021)

BLOOMBERG NEWS: “Biden’s First Actions, Proposals Offer Little Compromise to GOP” (“Biden’s First Actions, Proposals Offer Little Compromise to GOP,” Bloomberg News, 01/22/2021)

  • “Joe Biden… three days into his presidency, he has yet to appeal to Republicans who are balking at his sweeping plan for more pandemic relief. … The president continued his call for national unity on Friday, saying the country needs to pull together to confront the challenge of the coronavirus. Republicans, though, say his policy moves and proposals so far haven’t reflected a bipartisan approach. Biden floated an immigration plan that had virtually no support from Republicans, who also blasted his actions on climate change, saying he was killing jobs.” (“Biden’s First Actions, Proposals Offer Little Compromise to GOP,” Bloomberg News, 01/22/2021)

THE NEW YORK TIMES’ MICHAEL SHEAR: “That’s fine. So I want to push you a little bit more on that question. If there’s this call for unity that the president made in his speech yesterday, but there has so far been almost no fig leaf even to the Republican Party. You don’t have a Republican cabinet member like President Obama and I think President Clinton had; you know the executive orders that he has come out the gate have been largely designed as erasing as much of the Trump legacy as you can with executive orders, much of which the Republican Party likes and agrees with; you’ve put forth an immigration bill that has paths to citizenship, but it doesn’t do much of a nod toward the border security; and you have got a $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill that as folks have said already drawn all sorts of criticism. Where is the--where is the actual action behind this idea of bipartisanship, and when are we going to see one of those you know sort of substantial outreaches that says this is something that you know the Republicans want to do too?” (White House Press Briefing, 1/21/2021)


Biden’s Flurry Of Executive Orders Is Aimed At ‘Enacting Liberal Priorities’ And ‘Long-Sought Democratic Priorities’ Which ‘Signal [A] Collision Course With’ Republicans

“Biden’s Executive Orders Signal Collision Course With GOP … President Biden signed an executive order Friday … capping a series of actions taken in his first three days in office aimed at reversing Trump administration policies and enacting liberal priorities. The orders, more than two dozen, have focused on such areas as the environment, workers and unions, as well as an increased government role in the economy.” (“Biden’s Executive Orders Signal Collision Course With GOP,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/22/2021)

“President-elect Joe Biden formally announced on Wednesday he was revoking a key permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the second time a Democratic administration has scuttled the $8 billion project in less than a decade. Biden’s action was part of a series of executive orders on his first day in office …” (“Biden Kills Keystone XL Permit, Again,” Politico, 1/20/2021)

“The Biden administration announced Thursday the suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters, effective for 60 days, as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment…. Biden’s move could be the first step toward an eventual goal to ban all leases and permits to drill on federal land.” (“Biden Halts New Oil, Gas And Coal Leases On Federal Lands And Waters,” The Associated Press, 1/21/2021)

“President Biden on Wednesday will direct federal agencies to determine how expansive a ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land should be, part of a suite of executive orders that will effectively launch his agenda to combat climate change, two people with knowledge of the president’s plans said Monday. An eventual ban on new drilling leases would fulfill a campaign promise …” (“Biden Sets in Motion Plan to Ban New Oil and Gas Leases on Federal Land,” The New York Times, 1/25/2021)

“The Biden administration fired the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel, Peter Robb, breaking with precedent … The move marked a departure from the norm that presidents of both parties have followed to allow the general counsel to serve out their term.” (“Biden Fires Trump-Appointed Labor Board General Counsel And Deputy Who Refused To Resign,” The Washington Post, 1/21/2021)

“In one of his first acts in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement … As a candidate, Biden made a bold pledge to cut all greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s electric sector by 2035 and to make the country carbon-neutral by 2050.” (“Biden Moves To Have U.S. Rejoin Climate Accord,” NPR, 1/20/2021)


Indeed, Biden’s Stimulus Proposal Is Another ‘Progressive Wish List’ And ‘Represents An Unabashedly Progressive Agenda, Centered On A Strong And Growing Federal Government’

AXIOS: “Biden’s COVID package also progressive wish list” (“Biden’s COVID Package Also Progressive Wish List,” Axios, 1/15/2021)

“President Joe Biden will seek to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, a move that could complicate its passage through the closely divided U.S. Senate.” (“Biden Urges More Than Doubling Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour,” Bloomberg News, 1/14/2021)

  • “Seeking to fulfill a long-standing Democratic ambition, a coalition of lawmakers introduced a bill on Tuesday that would raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour. The measure, which is also included in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package, calls for gradually increasing the hourly wage in increments until it hits $15 in 2025. After that, it would be indexed to median wage growth …” (“Democrats Introduce Bill To Raise Minimum Wage To $15 By 2025,” CNN, 1/26/2021)

And The President Is Refusing To Consider Reducing The Size And Scope Of His Proposed Spending Plan

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “I must tell you, I’m reluctant to cherry pick and take out one or two items here, and then have to go through it again to — because these all are kind of — they go, sort of, hand in glove, each of these issues.” (“Remarks by President Biden at Signing of Executive Order on Strengthening American Manufacturing,” 1/25/2021)


The Biden Administration’s Stimulus Proposal Has Demonstrated Bipartisanship … In Generating Skepticism

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): ““This isn’t Monopoly money… Every dollar that we’re talking about here is being borrowed from our grandchildren. We have a responsibility to be stewards.” (“Lawmakers In Both Parties Lobby White House For A More Targeted Relief Bill,” The Washington Post, 01/24/2021)

“[Sen. Joe] Manchin [D-WV] mentioned reservations over the bill’s cost in his closing remarks, saying the proposal was too large and needed to be able to garner the support of fiscally-responsible lawmakers, according to aides.” (“Covid-19 Bill Negotiations Offer First Test of Biden’s Bipartisanship Effort,” The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/2021)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): “It's hard for me to see, when we just passed $900 billion worth of assistance, why we would have a package that big. Now maybe a couple of months from now, the needs will be evident, and we will need to do something significant.” (“Moderates Vow To 'Be A Force' Under Biden,” The Hill, 01/25/2021)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): “My focus is to see where’s the need, and let’s make sure that the numbers are real based upon need, as opposed to simply looking for more stimulus.” (“Moderates Vow To 'Be A Force' Under Biden,” The Hill, 01/25/2021)


Meanwhile, Senate Democrats Explain Unity Means Passing Their Partisan Agenda Without Compromising

“In defining his mission for history as bringing together a divided country, President Biden has made ‘unity’ the watchword of his fledgling administration. But one thing that divides America is what unity actually means. … Mr. Biden and his allies, however, argue that unity means something different than concession — more of a change in culture, not splitting the difference on policy plans.” (“In Biden’s Washington, Democrats and Republicans Are Not United on ‘Unity,’” The New York Times, 1/21/2021)

CNN’s JOHN BERMAN: “So unity. We heard that word a lot yesterday. It doesn’t necessarily mean meet in the middle?”
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “No, not at all.” (CNN, 1/21/2021)

CNN’s DANA BASH: “You just heard Mitt Romney say that Republicans like him have shown that they are ready to compromise. So, should Democrats move to pass coronavirus relief with 51 votes, if they can’t get Republicans support, say, before the impeachment trial?”
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): “Well, I don’t know what the word compromise means. … We’re going to use reconciliation -- that is 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president -- to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now. …” (CNN, 1/24/2021)

CNN’s ABBY PHILLIP: “You know, now Republicans are talking about unity, that was also a big theme of President Biden’s Inauguration Address. They also seem to think that unity means compromising, specifically on policy. How do you see it?”
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “… Unity is about doing things that the American people want to see us do: like a $15 an hour minimum wage, like canceling student loan debt, like expanding Social Security, like giving us more universal childcare and universal pre-K, things that are popular across this country, things that are needed across the country. We want to have unity? Then get on board for the things that the American people want to see us do.” (CNN, 1/24/2021)



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