Politics Explained

Bipartisanship is important to Joe Biden – whether he likes it or not

With approval ratings that few would envy, particularly on the economy, the US president needs some more legislative wins, writes Chris Stevenson

<p>Biden at the funeral of Bob Dole this week </p>

Biden at the funeral of Bob Dole this week

In the first late-night show appearance of his presidency, Joe Biden clearly had bipartisanship on his mind. He told Jimmy Fallon that he was late to the taping “because I did Bob Dole's eulogy”. He said of the Republican stalwart: “He asked me in his deathbed, whether I would do it – we were friends, we disagreed, but we were friends.”

Biden said cordial relations with Republicans were made “awful hard” by some parts of the GOP, not least what he called the “big lie” – former president Donald Trump’s false claims around the 2020 presidential election results. “QAnon and the extreme elements of the Republican Party and what, Donald Trump keeps sort of, seems to me feeding the, you know what, the big lie, it makes it awful hard,” Biden said.

While Democrats control the House of Representatives, the Senate is split 50-50 (with ties to be broken by the vice-president, Kamala Harris) and Biden seems to be aware that gridlock in Congress will not play well for his administration when they are trying to prove what good they can do for the nation during his first time. Biden talked up his administration’s bipartisan infrastructure bill which he said is “going to change the quality of life for an awful lot of people around the country”.

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