A White House spokeswoman on Sunday said President Biden is still holding out hope that Republicans will help pass his legislative agenda — even though no GOP senators voted to approve his $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.
Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, said the president remains opposed to ending the filibuster because he would prefer bipartisan support from Republican lawmakers.
“He wants to work with Republicans, to work with independents. He believes that, you know, we are stronger when we build a broad coalition of support,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Bedingfield argued the American people are behind Biden’s agenda, noting the strong support for the coronavirus stimulus bill across the country.
“Well, but we also got it done with the support of 75 percent of the American people, including over 50 percent of Republicans,” she said. “So we were able to pass this legislation with massive bipartisan support across the country.”
The Senate approved the relief legislation on Saturday on party lines.
Some Democrats have called for ending the filibuster, a legislative maneuver that would allow the Senate to pass legislation by 50 votes instead of 60, in the face of staunch opposition from Republicans and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader in the Senate.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, said Sunday, ending the filibuster would ultimately kill off any chance of bipartisan negotiation.
“The Senate is the most unique body of government in the world. … It’s deliberate. It’s basically designed … to make sure the minority has input. That’s exactly our Founding Fathers. And now if you want to make it a little bit more painful, make them stand there and talk, I’m willing to look at any way we can,” Manchin of West Virginia said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“But I am not willing to take away the involvement of the minority. I’ve been in the minority. I’ve been in the majority. And I can tell you the respect I have on both sides when I’ve been there should be, ‘I’ve got something to say. Listen to me.’ And I want that to happen,” he said.
Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the 50-50 divided Senate by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to cast a tie-breaking vote.