Biden Praises McConnell After Working Together on New Bill

Biden Praises McConnell After Working Together on New Bill

( – President Joe Biden gave a speech in Kentucky on Wednesday, January 5, and took the opportunity to praise an unlikely political ally — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell has often criticized Biden in the past, but the president chose to overlook that and focus on his support for the infrastructure spending bill.

Praise For Spending

On January 5, Biden gave a speech at the Brent Spence Bridge in Covington, KY, to promote his 2021 infrastructure spending bill. He was joined by several other senior politicians, two of whom are leading Republicans — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Senator Mitch McConnell. The inclusion of Republicans was an obvious nod to the bipartisan support for the bill, which McConnell played a big part in.

Within months of taking office, Biden attempted to push through the $2.6-trillion American Jobs Plan. However, it quickly became obvious Republicans weren’t going to let such a huge bill through the Senate, and moderate Democrats led by Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) started working with some Republicans to develop a less expensive alternative. Starting with a $568 billion GOP proposal, the two sides finally settled on a $1.2-trillion package that stripped out much of the controversial non-infrastructure items in the original bill, including funding for a “Civilian Climate Corps” and pro-union legislation.

The final version of the bill, which Biden signed into law on November 15, 2021, allocated over $550 billion for infrastructure, including roads, bridges, public transit, water supplies, broadband internet and energy generation. The rest of it was a repackage of previously authorized funding, including around $300 billion for highways.

Biden Builds Bridges

The president’s original plan involved sneaking a lot of social spending through Congress by hiding it in the infrastructure bill. The final result didn’t advance his left-wing agenda, but it did give a valuable boost to the US’ creaking infrastructure — and it wouldn’t have happened without the support of the 18 Republicans, led by McConnell, who voted for it.

Now, it seems Biden is making an effort to build bridges with those Republicans. Last Wednesday, he called McConnell a “friend” and praised him as “a man of his word.” However, while the two did work together when Biden was a senator, and McConnell has said he likes Biden personally, he’s been a consistent critic of his record in the White House. He slammed Biden’s attacks on the US oil industry and repeatedly accused him of acting unpresidential. Despite the successful passage of the infrastructure bill, the Democrat’s grasp on the Senate is still weak — and a speech in Kentucky with McConnell at his side isn’t going to change that.

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