When Joe Biden became president, Sen. Chuck Grassley saw opportunities to work with his former Senate colleague.
However, a year into the Biden presidency, the Iowa Republican believes the president’s missteps on policies and “turning leftward” to appease Democratic progressives have limited Biden’s ability to reach bipartisan agreement on his proposals.
Biden, he said, has abandoned his support for cloture rules that require senators to get support from 60 members to get legislation to the floor.
“He was very much oriented toward the way the Senate works under our 60-vote rule,” the Iowa Republican told reporters Wednesday. “That is the only thing that promotes bipartisanship.”
It’s ironic, Grassley recently said, recalling then-Sen. Biden’s comments from 2005 about cloture: “So when one party controls all levers of government, one man or woman can stand on the floor of the Senate and resist the passions of the moment.”
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Now that Biden is president and Democrats control the House, Senate and White House, “he's very partisan,” Grassley said.
If he asked Iowans whether they are better off today than a year ago, they would say no “because of the inflation, because of the open borders, because of the screw-up in Afghanistan,” Grassley said.
Initially, Grassley said he thought he would have opportunities to work with Biden on issues such as prescription drug prices. Former President Donald Trump addressed the issue in an executive order, but Grassley believes it will take legislation to make lasting changes to lower drug prices.
He remains committed to the prescription drug price legislation he sponsored with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat. It has been sidelined as Biden works to get Democratic support for his stalled Build Back Better proposal.
Biden “turning leftward very much more than he was as a senator” has made it more difficult to get bipartisan support for his policies, Grassley said.
“I think he made a big compromise with the Sanders’ left wing of the party and that's why he's so partisan now,” Grassley said, referring to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a rival for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.
And finally, Biden also has come up short on his promises to bring Americans together, Grassley said.
“He campaigned on being a unifier, and he hasn’t done, much unifying,” he said.
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