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Former Washington Journalist
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Although the majority of the US Senate is still up for grabs, pending the outcome of the two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5, President-elect Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) would do well to have a conversation to set the working relationship between the two longtime Washington insiders, according to a senator who is close to the incoming president.
McConnell had a notoriously bad working relationship with the last Democratic occupant of the Oval Office, vowing at one point to ensure that President Barack Obama was a one-term president.
That didn’t happen, of course, but McConnell obstructed Obama at every turn, going so far as denying the 44th president as much as a hearing for Merrick Garland, his abortive nominee to fill the seat left open on the Supreme Court in Obama’s final year with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
At this point, Biden’s coming to office amid a pandemic and a US economy in deep trouble, so cooperation with the Congress may well be required for some of Biden’s policy prescriptions.
“I think they should reach out to each other, as folks who served together for a long time, who know each other, and who have worked well in the past, I do think it’s important for the majority leader and the president-elect to have a personal conversation promptly,” said Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat from Biden’s home state of Delaware. “I was really encouraged by the outcome of the conversation the president-elect had with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and with [Senate] Minority Leader [Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] here in Wilmington last week and I think they laid the groundwork for a very strong working relationship.
“I look forward to being part of those in the Senate who are helping carry forward President-elect Biden’s agenda for his administration. I think he won a strong electoral victory,” Coons added. “He in the end I think will have received 80 million American votes — excuse me, I think we will see in the end that President-elect Biden has accomplished what is a significant win in the Electoral College as well as in the states that have certified his election, but we have unfinished work to do, in working across the aisle, in crafting a bipartisan agenda that will deliver relief to the American people.
“And a key part of that is for President-elect Biden to reconnect with someone who has been a colleague in the past and who could be a partner in the future if he chooses the responsible path of cooperating with the incoming administration, and that of course, is Majority Leader McConnell,” he said.
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