Swing State Democrats Seek More Bipartisan Bills

March 1, 2022 by Dan McCue
Swing State Democrats Seek More Bipartisan Bills

WASHINGTON — A memo being circulated on Capitol Hill by a group of swing state Democrats ahead of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address is calling for “a new agenda” that stresses bipartisanship over messaging bills and action over prolonged negotiation.

In some respects, the memo is said to be right in line with what the administration appears to be thinking — that now is not the time to push big, bold bills, but rather to unpack the provisions and get as many of them passed on a bipartisan basis as one can.

The shift was evident on Monday when an administration official was asked whether President Joe Biden would say the words “Build Back Better” during the State of the Union.

“It’s not about the name of the bill,” a senior administration official said. “It’s about the ideas. … [A]nd lowering costs for families.”


“The president will call on Congress to send him a bill that lowers costs and lowers the deficit without delay,” the official said.

Asked about the memo during a pen and pad session with reporters on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer didn’t say whether he’d seen it or not. 


But he added, “We’ve had a number of bipartisan bills.

“For instance, we had the infrastructure bill, which, in the Senate at least, was very bipartisan,” he said. “It would have had more bipartisan support in the House, but unfortunately the Republican leadership opposed the bill, in my opinion, on the basis of it being perceived as a Biden victory.

“So I think that was a very bipartisan bill. The problem was people voting for or against [a political perception] rather than the substance of the bill,” he continued. 

“Now, do I think we ought to have more bipartisan bills? Yes, I do,” Hoyer said. “But in order to have more bipartisan bills, they have to be dealt with on their substances, not on their politics. … And in that regard, I frame my answer, in the sense that it takes two to tango. It takes two parties to be bipartisan, and unfortunately, I think we have a lot of opposition for opposition’s sake.


“I agree with the letter writers that it would be nice if we could pass more bipartisan legislation. And that is available to us, and very frankly, we do pass bipartisan legislation. For instance, on the continuing resolution, we had 43 or 45 Republicans join us on that, including [House Republican Leader Kevin] McCarthy, [R-Calif.], and [Minority Whip Steve] Scalise, [R-La.], and I would hope we have more instances of that, we’ll certainly work towards that.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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