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GOP Senator Portman disappointed with Biden's lack of promised unity, in oped for Washington Post

"Unfortunately, that rhetoric has not yet been matched by action," Portman writes about President Biden's vow to seek bipartisanship.

Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman on Capitol Hill. Feb. 9, 2021.
(Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)
Updated: February 24, 2021 - 6:55pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Republican Sen. Rob Portman has taken his disappointment in what he considers President Biden's failure to fulfill his vow to foster bipartisan government to the opinion pages of The Washington Post.

"I was pleased to hear President Biden encourage bipartisanship in his inaugural address," Portman writes in an oped published Tuesday in the newspaper. "Unfortunately, that rhetoric has not yet been matched by action."

Portman's primary argument focuses on Biden, in unison with congressional Democrats, trying to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill "without a single Republican vote."  

Democrats have a narrow majority in the House and hold the tie-breaking vote in the evenly divided Senate, where they plan to use a parliamentary procedure, known a budget reconciliation, to pass the trillion-dollar spending bill by a simple, 51-vote majority. 

Portman, of Ohio, writes about how he and other Republicans attempted to reach across the aisle with their own $618 billion COVID relief package.

According to Portman, the Republican plan was crafted with the intention to include provisions they shared with the president. Some of these included extending federal unemployment, helping get children back in school and addressing drug addiction during the pandemic.

Beyond efforts to reach a bipartisan deal, Portman also argues, the new administration's plan in fact focuses on "provisions that Republicans oppose."

"Biden faces an early choice," writes Portman, a moderate and roughly 24-year member of Congress not seeking reelection in 2020. "He can act on the hopeful bipartisan rhetoric of his inaugural address  – and his presidential campaign – or contradict that message by trying to jam a $1.9 trillion bill through reconciliation with no GOP support."

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