Vice President Joseph Biden (above) met with House Democrats on Wednesday afternoon to try to win support for the $900 billion tax cut package he negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Biden’s farewell speech to the Senate in January 2009 was almost entirely focused on the unlikely friendships he forged with numerous conservative Senators.
The Senate has “left me with the conviction that personal relationships are the one thing that unlock the true potential of this place,” he said in his speech. “Pressure groups can and are strong and important advocates. But they’re not often vehicles for compromise. A personal relationship is what allows you to go after someone hammer and tong on one issue and still find common ground on the next.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who served with Biden for 30 years, is one of the conservatives who enjoys a good working relationship with Biden.
“They’ve had the kind of relationship where they can disagree, even strongly disagree, on policy, without being disagreeable,” a Hatch aide said.
Though Democrats might have given a mixed review of his handling of the tax cut deal, Republicans said they would gladly welcome Biden to the negotiating table in the future.
“This is a very good model, a very productive model,” said the Senate GOP aide with knowledge of the Biden-McConnell talks. The aide added, “If [the White House] would have had this approach on at least a few items over the past two years, I think they would have had surprisingly good results.”
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