Deep rifts in US politics: Biden’s work of reconciliation is not progressing

Status: 11.03.2021 02:34 a.m.

US President Biden’s declared goal of creating a new culture of togetherness after the bitter turmoil of the Trump years has suffered a painful setback. Not a single Republican voted for his Corona aid package.

From Sebastian Hesse,
ARD-Studio Washington

It had started so nicely: Five weeks after taking office, Joe Biden invited MPs from both parties to the White House to talk about the next Corona aid package. About the chance to tie it together. Participants such as Indiana Republican Senator Mike Braun called the exploratory round “fruitful.”

Sebastian Hesse

Sebastian Hesse
ARD-Studio Washington

“Everyone was on board and could contribute,” said the opposition senator, “I liked that!” Even the host could briefly indulge in the illusion that he had initiated a common cause. “That was one of the best meetings so far,” enthused President Biden, “just like the good old days: everyone on the same page!”

A short-lived alliance

But the alliance turned out to be short-lived. Also more short-lived than Biden’s press officer Jen Psaki could have guessed. He rubbed in Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy that her praise for non-partisanship was nothing but a bad joke.

“The Republicans were not taken into account at all,” the Senator grumbles. Psaki’s claim to the contrary is a joke. Instead, according to Cassidy, the Democrats smuggled some of their political wish-lists into law that had nothing to do with Covid aid. About $ 19 million for programs against domestic violence among Native Americans, adding that the package has become unnecessarily expensive.

Was the message about the Republicans?

“A lot actually benefits Republicans and all Americans in general,” the argument goes, “but above-average Biden’s party.” The Democrats vehemently contradict this and emphasize that, as a sign of goodwill, they even refrained from including an increase in the statutory minimum wage in the law – much to the disappointment of the left-wing party, by the way.

What was possible under Trump, Covid aid with the blessing of both parties, failed under Biden: Voices can now be heard from the democratic camp suggesting that the Republicans were concerned with this message. They wanted to send out the signal that some things had gone better under Trump. As part of her self-discovery process in the post-Trump era, the deputy parliamentary group leader in the House of Representatives reports to Democrat Katherine Clark. “While Republicans are preoccupied with themselves, we face a historic challenge with historic progress,” she taunts.

“There will be other opportunities”

And so the fronts seem as hardened as ever. Some take it calmly, like the Democratic Senator Chris Coons from Delaware, a close confidante of Biden.

“We shouldn’t surrender just yet and say that you can’t work with Republicans,” recommends Coons. “That was the very first attempt. There will be other opportunities. ”

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