White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki brushed off criticism that President Biden’s reliance on executive actions in his first week — a process that can be used to circumvent Congress — is at odds with his campaign promise of unity.
Psaki argued that the more than 40 executive orders were part of Biden’s fulfillment of commitments he made during the inauguration address.
“I would say first that part of unifying the country is addressing the problems that the American people are facing and working to reach out to Democrats and Republicans to do exactly that,” said Psaki. “He’s had calls with Democratic and Republican members of Congress, many of them, he’s doing more calls today.
"We're not looking to split the package. That is not a proposal from the White House. I talked to the president about it this morning. That is not what our focus or our intention is," Psaki said of Biden's COVID relief bill and negotiations.
Though she did not dismiss the notion that Democrats would push their program through budget reconciliation — a somewhat complicated parliamentary procedure that would allow Democrats to pass legislation with a simple majority vote instead of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. Psaki maintained that there is “no blood oath” for Republicans to not vote on a reconciliation plan and that their caucus is open to some negotiation on the relief package.
“We’re not going to do this in a piecemeal way or break apart a big package that’s meant to address the crisis we’re facing,” said Psaki.
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