Former Obama WH Official Laments Working With Republicans On Bailout, Says ‘Unity’ Doesn’t Mean Compromising On Every Bill


Brandon Gillespie Media Reporter
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Former Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina said Wednesday that “it was a mistake” to work with Republicans on the 2009 stimulus package, claiming that the economic recovery from the Great Recession was slower than it could have been.

Messina appeared on “CNN Newsroom” and was asked by host Poppy Harlow if he regretted working with Republicans on that bill during the Obama administration and if there was “a lesson” from that time that could help President Joe Biden in his fight with Republicans over the current proposed relief package. (RELATED: ‘It’s Peeing On A Forest Fire’: Dave Ramsey Says You Were ‘Screwed Already’ If Stimulus Check ‘Changes Your Life’)

“Look, I helped negotiate that package, and I think it was a mistake. We bent over backwards for three Republican votes,” Messina answered. “What is the single most important thing Joe Biden has to do? He has to get his arms around this coronavirus and he has to help the economy rebound.”

“And they should just do exactly what the smart people around them, the experts, are saying they have to do. If that means going it alone and passing a $1.9 trillion bill, that’s exactly what we should do. We had growth that wasn’t as robust as it could have been had we gone big. And so he’s not going to make that mistake again,” he continued.

Biden released the details of his proposed package in January and has received criticism from Republicans, and some Democrats, over certain aspects, as well as the high cost of the bill. Republicans counter-offered with their own scaled down version of the bill, but negotiations are still ongoing.

Harlow went on to ask Messina how Democrats going it alone over the package doesn’t “break a really important promise” that Biden made to be the “uniter in chief.”

“He didn’t promise to work with the Republicans on every single bill. He said he was going to pull the country together and go forward. And if the Republicans don’t want to be there on this bill, he’ll work with them on the next one,” Messina responded.

“It’s not about partisanship. It’s not about politics. Unity doesn’t mean cutting deals on every single bill. Unity means doing what he did last night and being very clear about where he’s going to go. There’s a bunch of Republican ideas in that bill and the bill is better for it, but the one thing he’s got to do is get this recovery right, and if it takes $1.9 trillion, then go do it,” he concluded.