Senator John Barrasso started his Fox News Sunday appearance blasting President Biden and the Democrats but ended up defending himself to host Chris Wallace, who kept pointing out the ways Barrasso’s constituents would benefit from programs in Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
Barrasso began the interview by saying that Biden “surrendered to the radical wing of his party” on Friday when the president went to Capitol Hill to meet with the Democratic caucus about the path forward for two pieces of legislation — the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that includes “soft infrastructure” priorities such as child tax credits, child care and climate change. Currently, the moderate and progressive wings of the party are in disagreement, as progressives refuse to vote for the bipartisan package without simultaneously moving forward the reconciliation bill that a small number of moderates say they won’t support. Barrasso has voted against both.
Wallace asked Barrasso to explain his opposition. “As you point out, 19 of your fellow Republican senators voted for the bipartisan infrastructure plan in the Senate. You did not. You called the reconciliation bill a ‘freight train to socialism.’ You and all of the Republicans were refusing the normal course—the bipartisan passage of raising the debt limit. So I guess the question to you and a lot of Republicans is are you viewing these issues on the merits or are you just playing partisan politics?” the host said.
Barrasso responded that he had “concerns with some of the gimmicks that were used to fund” the bipartisan bill, adding that it cost too much and would worsen inflation.
Wallace then brought up a proposal from the reconciliation bill that is similar to legislation Barrasso voted for in 2017 — the child tax credit. “The fact is that your state of Wyoming is one of the states that benefits most from the increase in the child tax credit. Why oppose that?” Wallace asked.
CHRIS WALLACE: In Wyoming, less than a quarter of children ages 3-4 are enrolled in publicly funded preschool. Wouldn't a lot of families benefit from universal pre-k?
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2021
He then complained that Democrats have not been “coming to talk with Republicans on any of these things” and said he is opposed to other parts of the bill, but Wallace kept pressing by bringing up another provision, universal pre-kindergarten, that would benefit Wyoming.
“In the state of Wyoming, less than one-quarter of children three to four, which is who would be covered in the bill, are enrolled in publicly-funded preschool,” Wallace said. “Less than one quarter. Wouldn’t a lot of Wyoming families benefit from universal Pre-K?”
Barrasso admitted, “There are a number of things that will help the people of Wyoming,” but quickly pivoted to say, “Overall, Joe Biden’s policies have been hurting the people of Wyoming.”
He then said that these programs should come with work requirements and means-testing, a favored Republican proposal, as it reduces the number of people eligible for benefits.