Jen Psaki Has Something to Say About Bipartisanship
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Saturday that President Joe Biden’s sole priority is getting his $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan signed into law as quickly as possible – so that millions of struggling Americans and an ailing economy can get another round of much-needed financial relief – and that the president is not concerned over the bill not having received a single Republican vote.
Following a round of questions regarding the legislation – which the United States Senate passed on Saturday along party lines – Psaki sparred with CNN White House reporter Jeremy Diamond, who asked if Biden is still courting the obstinant Senate GOP.
A transcript of the exchange is provided below:
In terms of bipartisanship, obviously, there are a few Republican senators who are still considering how to vote on this package — Senator Lisa Murkowski chief among them, in terms of somebody who might support this bill.
So how much of a priority is it for the President to try and win over at least one of these Republican senators? And how much time and energy is he planning to put into that effort?
Well, the President remains deeply engaged in getting this across the finish line. He takes nothing for granted. And I fully expect him to be on the phone through the course of weekend — the weekends with Democrats and Republicans as needed, just answering questions they have, addressing needs they have. Obviously, he had a number of people to the Oval Office just this week. So he takes —
How much of a priority is it for him to get at least one Republican senator to support this bill?
Well, I think the President’s measure of success here is whether we get the package through so we can deliver relief to the American people. And we welcome the support of Republicans in the Senate. We’re open to answering questions, to addressing concerns they have but, at the end of the day, our focus and the President’s priority is on ensuring that almost 160 million people receive direct checks; that we are providing money to schools — by the way, polling this morning showed the majority of people supported that across the country so that they can reopen; and that we are ensuring we can get vaccines in the arms of Americans. We’re still in the middle of a crisis. We’re in the — still in the middle of a war with the pandemic. And he welcomes their support, but his focus is on the American people.