Well, that was quick. Despite lofty rhetoric about unity and working together, CBS and NBC seem perfectly okay with letting Joe Biden ignore all that and push harshly partisan bills through Congress. CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today offered a blasé attitude about the President using reconciliation to pass a MASSIVE COVID relief bill.
On This Morning, co-host Gayle King trumpeted, “Senate Democrats are making plans to pass President Biden's sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with or without Republican support.” Reporter Weijia Jiang warned the end of bipartisanship. (Again, that was quick.) She hyped the Democrat’s lack of interest in working with Republicans:
But Mr. Biden has already indicated he is not interested in signing a watered down version of his own. With Republicans offering less than a third of what he proposed for his COVID relief bill, the President is signaling the time for bipartisanship is running out.
Jiang seemed unconcerned at Democratic efforts to ram the bill through with no GOP support: “But President Biden can get his plan through without any Republican support using a process called reconciliation which would only require a simple majority in the Senate. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is confident Democrats would stick together.”
The Today show offered a similar collective shrug at the partisan Democrats:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Meanwhile, Hallie, there are also developments on the COVID relief talks. The White House said to meet with some Senate Republicans trying to get a deal. Tell us about that.
HALLIE JACKSON: That’s right. Ten of them, Savannah. That meeting is set to happen with President Biden today at the White House after those Republicans basically pitched him on a smaller relief deal. In the name, they say, of unity and bipartisan. So this smaller deal would include $160 billion for vaccines, $4 billion for health service, and keep in place current unemployment aid, along with what they call targeted assistance to families who need it. One of the GOP members involved says it will probably carry a $600 billion price tag. Now that is a whole lot less than that $1.9 trillion package President Biden has proposed. Democrats are getting ready to try to pass that bigger deal without Republican support at all, if need be. So a lot of eyes are on that meeting this afternoon. Savannah?
GUTHRIE: It will be interesting to see how it all develops, Hallie.
All very “interesting,” right? Expect the partisan hacks at CBS and NBC to let the Biden administration ignore pledges of unity and bipartisanship. In a welcome contrast, ABC's Dan Harris at least noted the hypocrisy. On Good Morning America, he chided Biden:
President Biden is now urging the passage of a huge relief package, with or without Republican support. That is a change of tone for a man who was preaching unity at his inauguration, just ten days ago.
Transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
7:12:45 to 7:15:27
GAYLE KING: Senate Democrats are making plans to pass President Biden's sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with or without Republican support. A group of ten GOP senators is proposing a much smaller measure and urging the President to follow through on his promise to work with Republicans. Weijia Jiang is at the White House with more on this part of the story. Weijia, good morning to you.
WEIJIA JIANG: Good morning to you, Gayle. Late last night those Republican senators announced they will be meeting with President Biden today here at the White House. They accepted his invitation after sending him a letter outlining their proposal. But Mr. Biden has already indicated he is not interested in signing a watered down version of his own. With Republicans offering less than a third of what he proposed for his COVID relief bill, the President is signaling the time for bipartisanship is running out.
JOE BIDEN: I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it. But the COVID relief has to pass. There's no if, ands, or buts.
JIANG: The White House said President Biden is prepared to begin action on his rescue plan after speaking with Democratic leaders. He will meet with GOP senators today, but the administration made clear the need for action is urgent and the scale of what must be done is large. That large action has a $1.9 trillion price tag, and Republicans are urging the President to consider a cheaper $600 billion package. Among the key differences -- stimulus checks would provide $1,000 instead of $1,400. And recipients would be capped at lower income brackets. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, part of a bipartisan group working on COVID relief, slammed the White House for not asking for input while crafting the bill.
SENATOR BILL CASSIDY (R-Louisiana): If you want unity, if you want bipartisanship, you ought to start with the group that's shown it's willing to work together for a common solution. They did not.
JIANG: But President Biden can get his plan through without any Republican support using a process called reconciliation which would only require a simple majority in the Senate. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is confident Democrats would stick together.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vermont): It's hard for me to imagine any Democrat, no matter what state he or she may come from, who doesn't understand the need to go forward right now in an aggressive way to protect the working families.
JIANG: Senators will soon have to split time negotiating COVID relief and holding a trial for former president trump which is set to begin on Tuesday.