Vice President Joe Biden took a shot at the divisions within the Republican Party in a speech before House Democrats on Friday.
“There isn’t a Republican Party,” Biden said, addressing the House Democratic retreat in Cambridge, Md. “I wish there were. I wish there was a Republican Party. I wish there was one person you could sit across the table from, make a deal, make a compromise, and know when you got up from that table it was done. That’s what political parties, that’s what Nancy [Pelosi]’s able to do. That’s what the president’s able to commit to.”
“All you had to do was look at the response to the State of the Union — what were there, three or four?” Biden went on, referring to the three different responses given by Republicans: the official GOP response from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers; the tea party response from Sen. Mike Lee, and Sen. Rand Paul, who delivered his own official response.
Republicans have appeared particularly fractured this week, when Republican leadership broke from the majority of the party to support a debt ceiling raise in both chambers of Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and a number of committee chairs were among the 28 Republicans that joined 193 Democrats to vote to raise the debt ceiling.
In the Senate, the split was even more pronounced: Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz filibustered the bill, requiring a 60-vote threshold to advance the debt ceiling hike to a final vote, meaning five Republicans would have to join Democrats to get the bill done. Unable to find the requisite number of votes, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Cruz’s fellow Texas senator, Minority Whip John Cornyn, fell on the sword and cast votes in favor of advancing the bill, throwing into sharp relief the divide between leadership and some of the rank and file of the party. Ultimately, 12 Republicans voted to advance the bill, though none voted for final passage.