McConnell accuses Biden of breaking promise to unify
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday pronounced President Biden’s first 100 days a massive disappointment and accused the president of breaking his campaign promise to bring the nation together in the wake of a tumultuous 2020.
McConnell ticked through what has become a familiar list of Republican grievances with Biden: his decision to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline; passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan without any Republican votes; introduction of H.R. 1, a Democratic proposal to overhaul the nation’s election laws; the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan; and his handling of the migrant surge at the southern border.
“President Biden pledged he would be ‘A president for all Americans’ with plans to repair, restore and heal,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, noting that Congress remains closely divided with a 50-50 Senate and a slim Democratic majority in the House.
“But the first hundred days have left much to be desired,” McConnell said. “Over a few short months, the Biden administration seems to have given up on selling actual unity in favor of catnip for their liberal base, covered with a hefty coat of false advertising.”
The remarks came the day the White House unveiled Biden’s latest legislative proposal, a $1.8 trillion effort to provide free community college and prekindergarten, child care and paid leave to American workers and families. It would also raise taxes on the wealthiest households.
McConnell said Democrats seem to be racing to pass as many of their large and expensive policy priorities before losing control of the House or Senate in 2022.
“Behind President Biden’s familiar face, it’s like the most radical Washington Democrats have been handed the keys, and they’re trying to speed as far left as they can possibly go before American voters ask for their car back,” he said.
McConnell took aim at Biden’s handling of the surge of migrants crossing the southern border, and his decision to reverse the Trump-era policy requiring 70,000 asylum applicants to wait outside the U.S. while their requests for safe harbor are processed, allowing thousands to say in the United States while their cases move through the courts.
“Democrats have decidedly avoided taking ownership of the results of their own campaign rhetoric on immigration. Reckless mixed messaging has come home to roost in the form of a humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border,” he said.
McConnell pointed to reports of “soaring numbers of migrants” and “some wearing Biden campaign shirts” to argue that Biden’s election has encouraged more migrants to attempt crossing the border.
“Yet through it all, the White House’s foremost concern seems to have been to avoid calling this what it is: a crisis,” the GOP leader said.
Senate Republicans see Biden’s handling of immigration as one of their best weapons in the 2022 midterm election, buoyed by recent polls showing Biden’s approval rating on the issue is significantly lower than his marks on addressing the pandemic and the economy.
McConnell slapped Biden’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan as “another multitrillion-dollar smorgasbord of liberal social engineering” and accused the president of misleading the public about where it would put much of its funding.
“It’s being sold as a serious effort to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. It’s a pretty brazen misdirection. At both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Democrats have chosen to live in an alternate universe where both the campaign promises they made and the mandate the American people delivered were completely different than what happened here on planet Earth,” he said.
He also criticized the administration for underestimating how many vaccines would be delivered over the past three months and not pushing public schools to reopen more quickly.
“And the president continues to issue directives that are strangely out of step with the science,” he added, pointing to Biden’s prediction that if Americans carefully follow CDC guidelines they may be able to enjoy small outdoor gatherings on July 4.
McConnell argued that CDC guidance already says such gatherings are now safe.
The GOP leader then assailed Biden for ordering “a hasty, total withdrawal from Afghanistan” and proposing only a 1.6 percent increase in defense spending while supporting a 16 percent increase for nondefense domestic programs.
He said Biden’s spending priorities failed to focus on growing competition from Russia and China.
“Ignoring the facts. Passing the buck. Squandering leverage,” he said. “This is not what the American people bargained for. And they know it doesn’t have to be this way.”
The GOP leader urged Biden to make a course correction before he delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening, where the president will discuss his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan.
“It’s not too late. This White House can shake off its daydreams of a sweeping socialist legacy that will never happen in the United States of America,” he said.
“They can recommit to solving our nation’s actual problems. To fostering consensus instead of deepening our divides,” he added. “That is what the American people want and deserve.”
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