‘It’s gotta stop for the sake of America’: Biden chastises GOP for targeting Republicans who supported infrastructure bill
Alex Brandon/AP

‘It’s gotta stop for the sake of America’: Biden chastises GOP for targeting Republicans who supported infrastructure bill

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on Republicans to stop pursuing retaliation against 13 members of their party who voted to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in the House last week, saying he’s never seen things this way in Congress.

Some conservative House Republicans have discussed booting those GOP colleagues from committee spots, even though the effort faces little chance of succeeding. And former President Donald Trump has been privately criticizing the 13 Republicans who voted to pass the bill, questioning why they would give Biden a win when he’s struggling in the polls, according to a GOP source.

“Well, I’m hoping, Jaime, that we can get back to a place where there’s more civility in politics,” Biden said in conversation with Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison during a grassroots town hall. “I really mean it. And I’ve never seen it this way.”

He continued, “If they’re a chairman of a committee, they’re trying to strip them of that chairmanship. I’ve never seen it like this before. It’s gotta stop for the sake of America. I know I get in trouble when I talk about bipartisan — these people say, why in the devil would I like any Republicans? Well, it’s important. … Unless we can generate consensus in America, we’re in trouble.”

“It’s just not right. We’re going to change it though,” the President said.

During the town hall, Biden thanked members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, for passing the massive infrastructure package, something he noted that his predecessor never got done. He also expressed confidence that Congress will pass the Build Back Better portion of his agenda.

“For four years long, the last President told us we’re gonna get infrastructure done. But he couldn’t get it done, so it was left to us and we got the job done,” he said, adding, “And now we need to do it again with my Build Back Better plan and I’m confident we’re gonna get it done as we did in the past with everything else we’ve tried so far.”

Biden said Democrats need to stay unified ahead of the midterm elections, crediting a unified party for propelling him to the White House a year ago this week.

“We need to remember what got us to the White House in the first place. We won in 2020 as a unified party, maybe more unified than ever. Now, as I look at 2022, we need to stay unified. We need to remember that the American people sent us here to deliver, to make their lives better,” he said.

The 13 House Republicans who voted for the legislation last week are: Reps. Don Bacon of Nebraska; Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; Andrew Gabarino, John Katko, Nicole Malliotakis and Tom Reed of New York; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; David McKinley of West Virginia; Chris Smith and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey; Fred Upton of Michigan; and Don Young of Alaska.

Some of those members have faced serious blowback.

Upton said on Monday that he received a threatening voicemail after voting for the bill. On CNN’s “AC360,” Upton shared a message from a caller who said, “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f**king family dies.”

Several Republican sources said that only a handful of the most conservative members are pushing to strip the members from their committee assignments. Even so, there has been a lot of criticism directed toward Katko, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Trump has publicly lambasted the House and Senate Republicans who voted for the legislation, including Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Very sad that the RINOs in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory on the ‘Non-Infrastructure’ Bill,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday. “All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves, in particular Mitch McConnell, for granting a two month stay which allowed the Democrats time to work things out at our Country’s, and the Republican Party’s, expense!”

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