Senate Democrats have had a successful few weeks, culminating in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
That's earned them back-handed praise from one of their biggest antagonists: Sen. Josh Hawley.
He says Democrats' success despite a 50-50 Senate offers a "lesson" for Republicans.
Fresh off of their latest legislative victory, Senate Democrats are earning praise from an unlikely source: Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.
Hawley, who's often staked out policy positions more conservative than his peers and is widely-viewed as a future presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter that Democrats "came to do something."
"I'll give the Dems this," he said. "With a 50/50 Senate & a historically unpopular president, they passed major (terrible) legislation. Lots of it."
—Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 8, 2022
Hawley's praise comes a day after the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act — essentially a reworking of Democrats' ill-fated "Build Back Better" social spending and climate reconciliation bill — on a 51-50 party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
The framework for that legislation was released by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia just hours after the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to boost the US semiconductor industry. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had threatened to block that bill if Democrats pursued their reconciliation bill — so they waited until the bill had already passed.
This summer has seen other bipartisan initiatives succeed in the Democratic-led Senate, including passage of the most significant new gun restrictions since the 1990s and a bill to provide aid to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.
And there may be more bipartisan initiatives to come. The House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify same-sex marriage protections into law, with 47 Republicans joining every Democrat in support. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin told the New York Times that she believes the bill would get the 10 Republican votes necessary to pass the Senate once it's brought up.
Aside from the veterans bill, Hawley voted against every single one of those bipartisan bills — and he was the only senator to vote against a resolution allowing for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
And he told Insider in July that he would vote against the Respect for Marriage Act, saying he "didn't favor" the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
But Hawley says the record of accomplishments, despite Biden's low approval ratings and a closely-divided Congress, offer a blueprint for his party.
"There's a lesson there for the GOP," said Hawley in the tweet, before counseling Republicans: "If they get back Congress, they better be willing to fight."
The last time Republicans held the White House and both chambers of Congress was a two-year stretch from 2017 to 2019; during that time, the most significant legislative accomplishment by that Republican trifecta was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
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