Congress Joe Biden U.S. Senate

Joe Biden Has Found A Way To Beat Mitch McConnell At His Own Game

Just as he did when Barack Obama was president, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to obstruct every piece of legislation that comes from the Biden administration, and he appears to have most Senate Republicans on board with the plan.

But what McConnell forgot to factor into his scheme is that President Joe Biden also served in the Senate for decades and knows how the upper chamber of Congress works, which means he has a distinct advantage over the Senate Minority Leader, who is now almost powerless to do anything other than make speeches.

Take for example the White House’s infrastructure package, which Biden continues to insist he wants to have Republicans support, so he keeps talking and negotiating with them.

As NBC National Political Reporter Sahil Kapur explained Wednesday on MSNBC, Biden is reaching out to the GOP because he wants to keep every Senate Democrat on board:

“He has to negotiate with Republicans, he believes, Democrats believe in order to convince the centrist holdouts in the Senate. And also, the House, which doesn’t get quite as much attention, they want to pursue bipartisanship as well. They want to go home and say they did everything they could. The key thing to know is when president Biden is negotiating with Sen. Caputo, he’s really negotiating with Mitch McConnell. There are not ten Republican votes unless you get Mitch McConnell’s signoff for anything major.”

And there’s another strategy in play when it comes to what Biden is doing regarding McConnell: It gives the president flexibility to cut deals on the side with the GOP that also serve to undermine McConnell and weaken his already tenuous hold on his caucus:

“(Biden) can potentially come to an agreement on a number or something like that, but translating that to actual legislation to get ten Republican votes is a much more complicated task. The White House’s challenge here is to figure out whether to cut a deal with Republicans. At best, he can probably get a small deal that falls far short of his target and try to do something separately with Democrats or maybe do the whole thing alone he thinks that could undercut the big package.”

President Biden would love to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, but he doesn’t need a single Republican as long as he keeps all 50 Democrats on board. Then he can use reconciliation and get a massive infrastructure package through Congress with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote in the Senate.

Mitch McConnell is irrelevant and he knows it. And at the moment Joe Biden is besting him at his own game, proving that while the Kentucky Republican may well be a master Senate tactician, he’s met his match in this president.

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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