As much of his voting rights agenda had stalled in Congress, with the coronavirus pandemic entering a dangerous, politicized new phase and the fate of a much-needed plan to tackle the country’s crumbling infrastructure that is still in doubt, President Biden on Wednesday stood by its support for Senate filibuster.
“What I do not want to do is be wrapped up in whether it’s all about the filibuster,” Biden said during a CNN City Hall meeting in Cincinnati when asked by host Don Lemon why he continues to support a proceeding. , he has called ”a Jim Crow relic. ”
Biden added that the abolition of filibusters – which prevent legislation from proceeding in the absence of 60 votes – would “throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will be done.”
The president defended his belief that a bipartisan approach in Washington remained a viable way of governing the government as well as helping to repair the deep divisions between the Americans.
“I spent a lot of time as a senator and vice president, and I want to say something outrageous: I do not think you will find any Republican I have ever worked with who said I broke my word,” Biden told a skeptical audience who asked , whether it was worth trying to work across the aisle with Republicans who have largely tried to block his agenda.
Biden assured the public that his decades as a senator had given him absolute faith in the Democrats’ ability to make constructive compromises with Republicans. The president quoted Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as saying he privately gave him his word that an agreement to move the bipartisan infrastructure deal was within reach.
A procedural test vote on the above infrastructure framework failed earlier Wednesday due to GOP opposition. Biden, however, dismissed the failure as “irrelevant” under City Hall.
“I come from a tradition in the Senate, you shake your hand, that’s it. You keep your word, ”said Biden. “And I’ve found out that Rob Portman does. I’ve found … your governor is a good man. You give him the hand, it’s done. ”
Biden said he is confident the Senate will pass a resolution to move on to debate the bill by Monday, noting that it is entirely possible and that Democrats may still have to offer further concessions on controversial issues.
He also revealed that several Republicans have confided in him that they agree with his view, but voted along party lines for fear of losing their jobs.
“The well has been so poisoned over the last four years, and even now there is still this long-standing effort,” he explained in a less-than-veiled critique of the previous administration. Biden was also critical of the divisions that have been exacerbated by those clinging to conspiracy theories from former President Donald Trump as well as the fringe group QAnon that the 2020 election was decided by fraud.
“I do not care if you think I am Satan reincarnated, the fact is that you can not watch television and say that nothing happened on the 6th. You can not listen to people who say that this is a peaceful march, ”Biden said of the uprising at the Capitol carried out by Trump supporters, adding:“ I think we’re starting to see some kind of poison run out of a lot of it. We need to get beyond this. ”
Despite all his talk of double standards, however, Biden remained critical of Republicans as he discussed their framing of Democrats’ controversial relationship with law enforcement. Many in the GOP have taken advantage of rising crime across the country, perhaps jeopardizing legislative negotiations on police reform and painting Democrats as anti-police.
“They are lying!” Biden exclaimed when asked about this view, adding that what was needed instead of averting law enforcement changed officers’ behavior.
Yet in the President’s Biden way, the President projected optimism throughout his town hall with the idea that a nationwide reconciliation between the two parties would eventually prevail.
“I trust the American people that we are coming to the right place,” Biden said.
Read more from Yahoo News: