Republican Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Manchin, Barrasso announce bill to revegetate forests after devastating fires Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (Wyo.) last week said he wants to make President BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE a “one-half-term president” in 2022 by ensuring that Democrats no longer have complete control in Washington.
“I’m looking forward to a very successful 2022,” Barrasso said during a breakfast discussion hosted by The Ripon Society on Thursday.
“I want to make Joe Biden a one-half-term president, and I want to do that by making sure they no longer have the House, Senate and White House,” he added.
When asked if Barrasso was advocating for removing Biden from office before his first term is up, Laura Mengelkamp, the senator's communications director, told The Hill he was referring to the GOP winning the House and Senate next year, which would take away Democratic control of Washington and help Republicans win the White House in the next general election cycle.
“Sen. Barrasso’s remarks discussed his work to make sure Republicans take both the Senate and House in 2022, which would be the best way to effectively stop President Biden from moving his liberal agenda post-midterms, and position Republicans to win the White House in 2024,” Mengelkamp told The Hill.
Barrasso noted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWe don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble House passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome MORE (R-Ky.) made similar comments about wanting former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE to be a one-term president on the eve of the 2010 midterm elections.
“Mitch McConnell came under a lot of criticism for saying at one point he wanted to make sure that Barack Obama was a one-term president,” Barrasso said.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates responded to Barrasso’s comment in a statement to The Hill, writing that Biden “looks forward to continuing to deliver for the American people, continuing to make government work for them again, and continuing to bring our country together – after having reduced cases of the worst public health crisis in over a century by more than 90%, signed historic economic legislation that helped fuel unprecedented job growth for any administration’s first 100 days in office, protected Americans’ health care, and restored our leadership and competitiveness in the world.”
Barrasso, who serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, also attacked the Senate Democratic Conference for not making efforts to attract Republican cooperation, accusing the party of “heading as far to the left as they can.”
“There’s a 50-50 Senate, which should be a mandate to move to the middle. Instead, they seem to be heading as far to the left as they can,” Barrasso said.
Barrasso also weighed in on the infrastructure battle transpiring in Washington as the White House and congressional negotiators work to land a bipartisan package.
A chief sticking point among the parties has been how to pay for the infrastructure investments. Barrasso, during the breakfast discussion, advocated for an infrastructure package to be paid for with repurposed COVID-19 funding, which the White House previously said it would not lean toward.
“There’s a lot of money out there that, as [Sen.] Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRoy Blunt has helped forge and fortify the shared bonds between Australia and America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE [R-Mo.], who's on the Appropriations Committee, is pretty clear about, is orphaned money from the first five bipartisan coronavirus relief bills that are pretty specific in how they need to be spent — and it’s never going to be spent,” Barrasso said.
“We have to repurpose that. There’s a lot of money in the more recent Joe Biden coronavirus bill that is either unneeded or unrelated to coronavirus that is meant to basically pay off and bail out big cities. The money isn’t even going to go out for another couple of years,” he added.
Sylvan Lane contributed to this report.