McConnell says he and Biden aren’t talking
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he’s barely spoken to President Biden since the Jan. 20 inauguration, accusing the White House of shifting to the “hard left.”
“I don’t believe I’ve spoken with him since he was sworn in,” McConnell said during an interview with Fox News, adding that he hadn’t been invited to the White House either.
Spokespeople for McConnell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but clarified to CNN that while they had spoken since the Jan. 20 inauguration, they haven’t talked about the agenda.
McConnell previously told reporters on Feb. 2 that he and Biden had spoken about Myanmar and the budget process and coronavirus relief. Democrats used a special process known as budget reconciliation to pass their sweeping $1.9 trillion bill over GOP objections. The filibuster cannot be used to slow measures moved under the budgetary rules.
“Well the president called me on two things: Burma was one of them, the other was … the budget process and COVID relief,” McConnell told reporters.
But McConnell used the Fox News interview on Wednesday to drive home his view that he doesn’t believe Biden, whom he worked with in the Senate, is being bipartisan.
“I haven’t been invited to the White House, so far this administration is not interested in doing anything on a bipartisan basis in the political center,” McConnell said.
“There’s been no efforts whatsoever by the president or the administration to do anything in the political center. It’s been trying to jam through everything on the hard left,” McConnell added.
McConnell and Biden were able to cut some deals during the Obama administration, sparking speculation after Biden won the White House that their relationship could be crucial to the prospects for getting any big agreements through the Senate where 60 votes are still needed for most legislation.
The White House is in touch with GOP senators on infrastructure and Biden previously hosted 10 Republicans to discuss coronavirus relief. But Democrats are also wary of slowing down, or narrowing bills, to try to make them bipartisan, pointing back to what they view as strategic missteps during the Obama administration.
“We made a big mistake in 2009 and ’10,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told CNN earlier this month. “We cut back on the stimulus dramatically and we stayed in recession for five years.”
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