WASHINGTON—Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are united behind stopping President Biden’s agenda, putting a damper on already slim hopes for bipartisan cooperation in Congress ahead of more talks with the White House on a possible infrastructure deal.
“One hundred percent of my focus is standing up to this administration,” the Kentucky Republican said at a press conference in his home state Wednesday, in response to questions about infighting among House Republicans. “What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country,” he said, referring to the senators from Maine and Texas.
Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill with no Republican support earlier this year and have proposed more than $4 trillion in additional spending on infrastructure, antipoverty and education proposals. Republicans have said they are willing to engage in talks on a narrow infrastructure plan focused on roads, bridges and broadband, and some GOP lawmakers outlined a $568 billion infrastructure framework. But they have rejected Biden’s more extensive spending plans.
Proposals supported by Biden on gun laws, voting rights and D.C. statehood have also drawn little GOP interest. They passed the House but are unlikely to progress in the Senate, where most legislation needs 60 votes to advance. Vice President Kamala Harris ’ tie-breaking vote gives Democrats a narrow majority in the chamber, which is split 50-50 between both parties.
Biden, who represented Delaware for 36 years in the Senate, brushed aside McConnell’s comments, referring to a well-publicized remark McConnell made during the Obama administration: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” In those remarks, made before the 2010 midterm elections, McConnell also said he was willing to work with Obama if he met the GOP halfway.