Editorial Roundup: Biden’s bipartisan ask gives GOP opening
Published 5:36 pm Friday, February 10, 2023
Viewers of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech Tuesday might be troubled when they consider how many times he was heckled by Republicans and how many times he offered to work with them.
Without counting, it seems the president repeated his offers of bipartisanship numerous times even with the onslaught of heckling from Republicans who called him a “liar” and used profanity. That seems to be the state of our politics.
Biden touted the bipartisan wins, which include the big jobs and infrastructure bill, the bill that will encourage and subsidize U.S. manufacturing of computer chips, and the electoral reform act to prevent another insurrection. He touted things that have had longtime widespread support from Americans, such as negotiating prescription drug prices and capping insulin costs, small but real gun safety legislation and requiring some corporations who pay zero tax to pay a minimum tax of 15% — a rate still lower than teacher or firefighters pay, Biden noted.
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Biden called on Republicans to help him “finish the job” and presumably also take credit. On that note, he joked that he would still be at the groundbreakings for projects in the infrastructure bill that are in districts where members of Congress voted against it.
He correctly called out Republicans — not all Republicans he was clear to point out — who want to sunset Social Security and Medicare. That comes from a written proposal by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, that calls for sunsetting all federal programs after five years, but doesn’t specifically mention Medicare and Social Security. Others have supported that position, including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who on a campaign stop said he planned to “phase out Social Security” and “get rid of it.”
With howls from Republicans that it wasn’t so, Biden turned the tables and said he’s glad no one is favoring eliminating Social Security and Medicare.
There are plenty of options for bipartisan legislation that will benefit all Americans, including Biden’s “junk fee” proposals to attack extra fees consumers get hit with at hotels, resorts and concerts. He aims to eliminate or reduce what he calls unfair non-compete agreements that 30 million workers have to sign that prevent them from in some cases getting a better, higher paying job.
While Biden exaggerated success in some other areas — what politician doesn’t — his offer to work with Republicans gives them an opportunity to prove him wrong if he doesn’t consider their proposals. Biden was right that Americans mostly don’t want “fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict,” saying it “gets us nowhere.”
Let’s hope both parties take that message seriously.
— Mankato Free Press, Feb. 10