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Top Biden aide makes the case for bipartisanship as far Left balks at Senate infrastructure bill

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-07-29

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A new White House memo from President Joe Biden’s senior adviser argues that swing voters want compromise solutions from lawmakers that “meet in the middle,” including on the latest $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal.

“While a lot of pundits have doubted bipartisanship was even possible, the American people have been very clear it is what they want,” senior adviser Mike Donilon wrote in a White House memo obtained by the Washington Examiner .

Senators on Wednesday voted 67-32 on a procedural measure to advance Biden’s roads and bridges proposal. Still, the bill remains to be drafted and will need to garner 60 votes for final passage.

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It will then need to pass through the House, where it is already facing pushback from members of the Democratic Party’s left flank. Backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, liberals said they won’t vote for the bipartisan bill unless it is paired with a multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package.

“We look forward to seeing the progress made by the twenty senators,” Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, said in a statement. “But the votes of the Congressional Progressive Caucus members are not guaranteed until we examine the details, and until the reconciliation bill is agreed to and passed with our priorities sufficiently funded.”

Donilon said that surveys show that voters in tightly held districts want lawmakers to work together to get a bill passed.

“A majority of voters in battleground Congressional districts want a new infrastructure bill passed with bipartisan support when asked by No Labels-HarrisX in May (55%), June (52-73% in different districts), and July (72%),” the memo reads.

For voters, the “leading challenge” for the nation is addressing the partisan political divide, according to the longtime Democratic strategist.

Donilon cites a June Georgetown University Battleground Poll in which 32% of voters named polarization among their top two issues, coming in 7 percentage points above their next most important issue.

“Wednesday’s bipartisan agreement is an important signal to voters that they’re being heard and that their government can work as they think it should – with elected officials from both sides of the aisle coming together to address the concerns that matter most in their lives,” he said.

Stark divisions remain, however. While 73% of Democrats surveyed by the Georgetown poll said the country was headed in the right direction, 90% of Republicans said it was going in the wrong direction.

The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters between June 5-10 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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Donilon, Biden’s chief strategist in the 2020 presidential campaign and a top aide to the then-vice president during the Obama administration, said Biden “ran on the message” that people should come together to address the nation’s concerns.

“The American people embraced that message,” he said, urging Congress to “deliver results for working families.”

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