On today’s episode, Sarah and Steve speak with Heidi Heitkamp, former North Dakota senator and founder of One Country Project. They cover everything from the filibuster to President Biden’s first year in office. What doesn’t work about the Senate? Can Biden turn things around before the midterms?
Heidi Heitkamp says President Biden should apologize to Sen. Mitt Romney:
“If I were Joe Biden today I would call Mitt Romney and I would apologize and I would say, ‘I never intended to paint with a broad brushstroke. There is a lot of bad stuff going out there would you agree to help me pull together a commission that's looking at these things from the perspective of getting everybody to vote?’”
Heitkamp disagrees with critics of how Biden has handled COVID:
“I think that a lot of what this president has done has in fact, addressed the pandemic and the economic consequences of the pandemic. You know everybody forgets... that the initial reaction to the pandemic under the Trump administration came from the Fed. I mean that's when the Fed really got engaged because they didn't see fiscal policy being addressed the same way and then of course we got the big packages that resulted in PPP and you know some of the other kinds of um, ah you know expansion or extension of unemployment. Those kinds of things but initially the reaction came from the Fed and so when you look at what Biden did when he came in he said we still need economic stimulus, we still need to address the pandemic.”
Heitkamp on Democrats mishandling of infrastructure:
“Take a victory lap when you win and don't delay a bipartisan win, right? So what would the narrative be today if they had held off [on Build Back Better], done a victory lap on a bipartisan infrastructure package and said look—
Sarah: That they could have passed in June.
Heitkamp: Right. And that was— if you want to know the one place where I will go to my grave believing was the beginning of the end was that critical political mistake. And so you have to look at the president's political team at that point in time. And you have to look to Nancy Pelosi. I mean, what was Nancy saying in terms of what she could pass? And my point was even if it failed, if it failed with Republicans voting against it you've got a campaign issue. So it was a huge political—it was political malpractice. And God love Joe Manchin, he kept saying ‘Pass it, pass it. And then let's see what we can do on this other piece of it. Let's find out what these resources will do to help Build Back Better.’ Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Now the point becomes how do you hit a reset when you've already lost so much political ground? And quite honestly, when the president said I don't believe the polls he believes the polls.”