On Inauguration Day, only hours before President Joe Biden took the oath of office, a group of 17 House Republican freshmen sent a letter to him congratulating him and saying they look forward to working with him on several key bipartisan issues including coronavirus relief and infrastructure.
Ten of the Republican lawmakers who signed the letter had objected to the certification of his Electoral College victory only two weeks before. Those lawmakers included Reps. Stephanie Bice (Okla.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), Scott Franklin (Fla.), Carlos Gimenez (Fla.), Yvette Herrell (N.M.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.), Barry Moore (Ala.), Jay Obernolte (Calif.), Burgess Owens (Utah), and Jerry Carl (Ala.).
“After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and most recently, the horrific attack on our nation’s capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American,” the group stated in the letter, according to NPR. “Americans are tired of the partisan gridlock and simply want to see leaders from both sides of the aisle work on issues important to American families, workers, and businesses.”
“We hope to work with you to extend targeted, meaningful coronavirus relief for families and businesses, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, strengthen and modernize our infrastructure, enforce our antitrust laws against emboldened technology monopolies, and restore our economy struggling in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic,” they added.
Though the group is just a tiny sample of the GOP’s 211 members in the chamber — and of the 121 members who objected to Arizona’s Electoral College results — it shows that some newly elected lawmakers are weary of the intense political divisiveness in Congress and looking to find common ground wherever it can be found.
Don’t expect the bipartisanship to last, though.
Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” has already drawn the ire of several Republicans on Capitol Hill. As a part of the costly plan, Biden suggests doling out an additional $1,400 in stimulus money to every American, extending unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium, and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
According to Business Insider, GOP Sen. Pat Toomey (Penn.) said, “Blasting out another $2 trillion in borrowed or printed money … would be a colossal waste and economically harmful.”
GOP Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas) called the proposal “another economic blind buffalo that does nothing to save Main Street businesses, get people back to work, or strengthen our economy.”