Joe Biden has played little direct role in negotiating a potential deal on gun control, a sign of how a president who often boasted of his victory over the National Rifle Association and decades of Senate experience during campaigning , now living away from day to day. Action of the day Congress on some of the biggest issues of his presidency.
“He wants to give it some space,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Thursday’s press briefing, calling for bipartisan talks in the Senate on gun control and school safety after a racist massacre in Buffalo, New York. Referring to Approach. The York, Supermarket and Murder of 19 Children in Uvalde, Texas.
The president himself clarified his role as a spectator for the conversation as he spoke to reporters in Delaware on Friday morning.
“My staff is working and constantly dealing with every member of the House and Senate who wants to talk about guns,” he said. “It’s been a constant exchange. And I’ve been constantly informed about it.”
Biden’s absence from Congress’s discussions on key issues has at times disappointed and stunned advocates, who questioned his strategy of allowing Congress to determine the fate of his political identity and central issues to stand. Huh.
“For someone who talked so much on the campaign trail of nearly 30 years of experience in bringing Republicans and Democrats together, it is astonishing that he could use those years of experience, relationships, and skills to help lawmakers get a deal. Igor Volsky, executive director of Guns Down America, told HuffPost. “This president doesn’t seem willing to invest real political capital to reach a deal.”
Biden’s aides, however, insist the president is few steps away, necessary to give senators on both sides the political freedom to cut a deal, and the best use of Biden’s time and capital to give Congress a This is done to keep you focused on an issue that can easily fade into headlines.
“I support bipartisan efforts, including a small group of Democrat and Republican senators, trying to find a way out,” Biden said during his speech on Thursday night. “But my god, the fact that the majority of Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals to be debated or put up for vote, seems unconscionable to me.”
The Senate talks, which have encouraged negotiators on both sides, are likely to result in a final deal that matches what Biden has achieved in the past — a ban on assault weapons in the 1990s — or what he set out on Thursday. did, much less than that. The night’s speech called for a host of gun control measures. Everything Biden sought in that speech, including the repeal of an assault weapons ban and a liability shield for gunmen, is off the table because of unified Republican opposition.
Biden’s pragmatic approach to Congressional action isn’t limited to gun control. The president has largely recused himself from negotiations on a reconciliation package that, if it passed, would become his signature policy achievement, which would lead to Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.VA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN). .Y). .) and are not deeply involved in major antitrust legislation developed by Biden and White House censors. Amy Klobuchar (D-Min.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the party’s chief negotiator on gun control legislation, told Nation World News he approved the president’s approach: “They know we need our space — so we keep in regular contact with the White House.” But they know it’s ultimately going to be a deal in the Senate.”
On the campaign trail, Biden uniquely portrays himself as reaching bipartisan deals with Republicans. Smashing most other major contenders for the Democratic nomination, he defended the Senate’s 60-vote requirement, saying his 36 years in the Senate meant he could single-handedly bring parties together on key issues.
Repeatedly, in television commercials and in stump speeches, Biden cited the 1994 passage of the assault weapons ban as proof of their authenticity, a liberal nemesis to leading Republicans as the gun lobby. An example of persuading to defeat.
“As President, he will defeat the NRA again and restore the soul of this nation,” promised one narrator. Biden Campaign Ad Which aired ahead of the Nevada caucus, the results of which provided the first glimmer of hope for the former vice president’s eventual return to the presidential primaries.
Earlier in his office, Biden regularly held meetings with lawmakers from both sides as he tried to enact key legislation. Most of those efforts proved fruitless: work came nowhere with moderate Republicans, including Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, to create a bipartisan version of the American rescue plan. Biden’s efforts to negotiate a version of the bipartisan infrastructure law with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) also fell short, even though a group of moderate senators later reached a deal.
Most notably, Biden met incessantly with nearly every strip of Democrats while attempting to negotiate his Build Back Better package, which Manchin eventually stabbed in December. Some Biden aides believe that the hyper-public nature of those talks—the relentless barrage of questions Manchin was showered with in the Senate hall—made a deal more difficult.
The politically fraught nature of these negotiations only adds to the challenges. of friday decision Retiring just one week after supporting a ban on assault weapons from Rep. Chris Jacobs (RN.Y.) reveals how Republican base voters, fueled by the gun lobby, see Second Amendment rights as restricting Will rebel against anything to be seen.
Biden’s direct involvement may only further polarize the issue, adding to political risk for GOP senators involved in the talks, including John Cornyn of Collins, Texas, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. (All three were reelected in 2020.)
Public surveys continue to show stricter gun laws, especially stronger background check types and red flag laws under discussion, are popular with the public. That’s why some advocates, including Volsky, suggested that Biden should embark on a journey to pressure key senators.
“At the very least, the White House should consider traveling to those parts of the country and meeting with affected populations to build support and create political pressure on those lawmakers to vote properly,” Wolsky said. “This is the minimum we would expect on any issue.”
Igor Bobik contributed reporting.