WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDEF) – With the start of the new Biden administration today, the newly-elected President has called for an era of unity and bipartisanship in Washington.
It’s something that most Americans want. A Pew Research poll found that 74 percent of Americans across the political spectrum say President Biden should try his best to work with Republican congressional leaders to accomplish things, even if it means disappointing some of his voters.
House Representative from Tennessee’s third district, Chuck Fleischmann, says while he’s open to the idea of bipartisanship, the ball is in Biden’s court for whether he’ll follow through.
“We will see very early whether or not the Biden administration puts forth an agenda that is something that is warm to the issue of compromise and working together or if it is a cram-down,” says Rep. Fleischmann.
The Congressman named infrastructure spending and coronavirus relief as areas of potential compromise.
“If President Biden comes forth with infrastructure, I think he’s going to find very welcoming ears. If he comes forth with other aspects of the agenda that are more polarizing, I think he will get his administration off to a less positive start,” says the Congressman.
UTC Assistant Political Science professor, Jeremy Strickler, weighed in on the prospect of compromise in the Biden era, and whether or not we’ll start to see polarization start to dwindle.
“These are those moments where presidents call forth the better angels of our nature, as Lincoln said and as Biden referenced today. Those calls for the better angels of our nature during times of crisis – the civil war, world wars, economic depressions, and of course a pandemic,” says Strickler.
He says that while he believes Biden’s calls for unity are genuine, members of Congress are also going to have to do their part to make it happen.
“It’s not incumbent solely on the president to bring about compromise. Compromise is going to necessarily be a two-way street. And you would hope that all parties to a potential compromise are acting in good faith,” he says.