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Democratic elder statesman torches party’s budget tactics: Not 'how you govern in a democracy'

"If this is how we're going to govern, it will simply be undone in another election," said former New Jersey Sen. Bob "The Torch" Torricelli.

Updated: September 23, 2021 - 12:19am

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Former Sen. Bob Torricelli (D-N.J.) told Just the News that the Democrats' partisan $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation legislation is not the way to govern in a democracy.

Torricelli was asked for his reaction to former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) expressing opposition to the Democrats' attempt to push President Biden's agenda through Congress without any Republican support. Torricelli argued that such narrowly partisan victories won't withstand the test of time.

"I understand a lot of what the Democratic Party wants to achieve in the Congress," Torricelli said during an interview at the Organization of Iranian American Communities conference in Washington, D.C. "And I understand the frustration with it, but Lee Hamilton is right. If this is how we're going to govern, it will simply be undone in another election.

"The goal of governing is to form broad bipartisan coalitions that genuinely reflect the entire country. It's not easy. Sometimes it's impossible, but that's how you govern in a democracy." 

The Democrats in Congress have proposed financial support for child care, universal pre-K, and tuition-free community college as some of the new programs in their gargantuan $3.5 trillion spending bill. Torricelli said he supports a lot of the policies the Democrats are advocating but emphasized that whatever is spent should be fully funded with new revenue.

"I support a lot of what's in it," said Torricelli, informally known by his nickname, "The Torch," during his active political career. "The country is long past due having universal daycare in the country and investment in childhood education, and training is an investment in the future. I agree with all that. I just think it has to be paid for, and whatever we're going to spend should be raised."