January 20th, 2010
03:56 PM ET
4 years ago

Gibbs says Republicans not serious about bipartisanship

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that Republicans are stalling on major legislative issues.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that Republicans are stalling on major legislative issues.

Washington (CNN) - Republicans talk about working with Democrats but don't follow through, stalling progress on major issues, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

"They've got to want to work," Gibbs told reporters. "It has to be heart-felt."

Gibbs cited a GOP attempt to filibuster the defense spending bill last year, followed by an 88-10 vote in favor of the measure that included support from most Republicans.

Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters that his party is ready to work with Democrats on finding middle-ground solutions for major issues.

"We're prepared to meet them in the middle for truly bipartisan solutions to the problems the American people sent us here to grapple with," McConnell said.

In response, Gibbs said: "I watched Mitch McConnell, whose party unity score in voting was 95 percent, talk
about being bipartisan - an interesting message."

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee spent months working on a health care bill that included amendments proposed by Republicans, Gibbs noted. When the Senate eventually voted on a final health care bill that included much of the Finance Committee measure, no Republicans supported it.

"You can talk and you can meet and you can extend a hand, but if what you construct working with the other party, the other party is then unwilling to support, … you can't do that," Gibbs said.


Filed under: GOP • Mitch McConnell • Obama administration • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Libertarian

    The two-party system will NEVER work. All they do is block one another to gain points for the next election. Gridlock......

    January 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Republicans made it clear from day one that they would bring Obama down. The right wingnuts have never put Americans first.

    Democrats survived the 8 miserable years of Bush, and I am confident we will survive the tea bagger fad.

    January 20, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. GB

    The Republicans don't have a plan or a clue.

    January 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. howard

    This guy is an arrogant moron. Bullhead stupd is another way to put it.

    January 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. gr

    You can talk and you can meet and you can extend a hand, but if what you construct working with the other party, the other party is then unwilling to support, … you can't do that," Gibbs said.

    That's right you can talk it all you want, but action speaks alouder then the words of the Republican party.

    January 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Nice try – now that Obama and the DNC is being forced to actually reach across the aisle.

    How come this guy sounds like a little kid stomping his feet when he doesn't get his way?

    January 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Potificus

    Not easy working with neanderthals. This administration is being too nice hoping the neanderthals and their brainwashed hoardes will cooperate, but it's not going to happen. It seems voters have a very short memory and the American voter appears to be voting back the same degenarates that got us into this mess to begin with.

    January 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Rick CT

    ""You can talk and you can meet and you can extend a hand, but if what you construct working with the other party, the other party is then unwilling to support, … you can't do that," Gibbs said."

    That works both ways Gibbs – an inconvenient truth.

    January 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. gr

    Now the spotlight will be on the Republicans party since the Dems only have 59 voters which to me is a very good thing becasue now the American people will see what party are for them and which party are against them. Republicans better think long and hard before they just say no becasue ALL EYES WILL BE ON THE REPUBLICANS FOR BIPARTISAN!

    January 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Jeff

    What is the Dem's party unity score? I daresay that if there were fewer Dems, it would be higher – as it is, they can do without the support of several.

    January 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Mark, Warwick RI

    Excuse me, Mr. Gibbs, but you can't all another group out for failing to be bipartisan when you clearly don't understand what it means.

    The current administration promoted having a bipartisan cabinet – there are two Republicans, and two Independents, among 13 democrats. They promoted bipartisan progress, but cannot come up with any version of health care reform that garners more than one Republican vote, and gossip (almost as good as money) has it that they've considered ways to push their healthcare through without any Republican votes. They promoted transparency, and yet most of the public can't explain the current healthcare bill, and made all of the recent alterations behind closed doors.

    As the pot, please don't call the kettle black – you are just as partisan as the minority, if not more due to your majority.

    January 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. rob

    Gibbs is 100% right. Repub's are total obstructionists. The party of "no". Yes, the Dems need to learn from this election but the Republicans need to start to bring much more to the party than what they have been or we will conrinue this vicious cycle of parties in charge getting voted in and out of office, nothing getting accomplished, and the country ultimately continuing to suffer. What will happen soon is a major uprising. The internet is helping with this. The people will take back this country... as they showed they can and will do in Mass. Trust me, that wasn't a Republican win. Those weren't Republican voters that caused Brown's win. They were Independents and Dems. A Third Party will take control of this comical "Government" and then we will see REAL change.

    January 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Just Me

    I am an independent moderate and typically side with Democrats more than Republicans (not always though), but Gibbs and the rest of the Democrats need to realize one thing ... what he is saying the republicans need to do ... well that works both ways. The Democrats need to be willing to compromise and learn that if you truly want to be bipartisan that means you need to get more than 1 Republican to vote for your legislation.

    January 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    And this is new news!?!?!?!?
    We already have two members of Congress calling the president a liar and hoping that health care fails because it will be Obama's Waterloo.
    mcnasty is campaigning against Obama yet again. Isn't he running for the senate?
    The repugs need to stop listening to limbaugh, who also wants Obama to fail.
    It's one country people!!!

    January 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Stop the Nonsense

    Mr Mc Connell's word sound good,let's see if they mean anything.
    This year, aside for the issues sited by Mr Gibbs, there have been no less than 6 other votes the Republicans only chose to bad mouth rather than offer an alternative – ( that would be a comprimize of bi=partisan approach)
    Since Janaury 2009 all they minority party has done is lie about healthcare while in private saying they agreed with 80% of the bill and held rallies misleading the people of the United Staes as to what actual bills are being presented.
    They refer to the Democrats as elitist and anrrogant yet forget the American people when playing politics. To that point, the Democrats at time are no better, but they do comprimize more often, still not enough.

    January 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Obama ... worst President ever!

    This is just another example of a democrat foaming at the mouth. It is absolutely disgusting to see these idiots run down the Republicans inorder to make themselves look better.

    January 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. gr

    Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters that his party is ready to work with Democrats on finding middle-ground solutions for major issues.

    And the American people will be watching McConnell becasue talk is cheap! What is middle-ground to the Republicans? In the pass been going all the way over the to right and this is not what we elected President Obama for to continue the right wing agenda that have failed.

    January 20, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Felonious Monk

    The republican agenda is an Un-American agenda. Corporation first, party second, country somewhere in there when the need arises.

    Traitors!!!

    January 20, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Alan in Ak

    Big business and big insurance win once again. Repubs will do a lot of talking and do a lot of nothing and those without will do without once again.

    January 20, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Marco V

    Ya right! The republicans will continue stalling and delaying to make the dems and Obama look bad.

    The voters of Massachusetts just proved that they are dumber than a 5th grader!

    January 20, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Harryt

    So McConnell is saying that the Republicans are now ready to work with Democrats on finding middle-groung solutions. That sounds like an admission that till this point, his party was NOT ready to work with the Democrats and the voting records sure back that up. Politics as usual.

    January 20, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Pragmatic

    The proof is in the pudding: I remember the new President going to speak to the Republicans and Johnny B announcing that the GOP was going to vote "no" .... and this was days before the President had even had a chance to speak.

    If health care reform fails ... the republicans will own it.

    January 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. DAVID

    boo hoo Gibbs...... now that the senate is an actual non democratic free for all the cry's of the republicans are not going to do anything...... Instead it will block your party from ramming and cramming whatever the left wants..... now real reform can take place on health care and oh yeah by the way-- the climate bill in the senate is "DEAD"....... with all the false information starting to come out about how the scientific community has been making up data to support there claim that people are creating climate change, it is done....... now health care can be discussed by both sides and a little give and take is going to have to be done by both parties.... if not health care is like climate change === "DEAD"..... THANK YOU DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS OF massachusetts.........

    January 20, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Brian J

    Republicans are simply interested in stopping any bill Democrats put forward. They see themselves as a roadblock to anything that will allow the country to succeed, since that might help Democrats. Given the Republicans dismal record on the economy and national security, there really is no need to pay any attention to them for a decade or two.

    January 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Debbie

    The GOP doesn't want to be bi-partisan and that is evident by their own admission. They said Brown was the 41st vote for fillibuster. So they have not and do not want bi-partisian ship...if that was the case it would have happened before Brown.

    I'm just sitting back because absolutley nothing will come in or out of Congress for the next 3 more years. We just spend our tax dollars on the salaries of Congress both GOP and DEM to do nothing but argue.

    January 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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