The White House swings at McConnell for threatening to hold up bipartisan bill challenging China

The White House swings at McConnell for threatening to hold up bipartisan bill challenging China
President Joe Biden; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • The White House swung at McConnell for holding up a bipartisan bill to meant to challenge China.
  • A White House spokesperson accused McConnell of siding with "big pharma."

The White House assailed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, criticizing him for threatening to sink a bipartisan bill aiming to fortify US economic competitiveness against China as Democrats move ahead with their own policy package.

"Instead of spreading weak falsehoods and offering China a windfall at our expense if it means protecting big pharma's capacity to price gouge, Senator McConnell should work with us against the global challenge of inflation," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

The White House also swung back against McConnell attacking Democrats for pursuing tax increases in their economic policy bill that is being assembled behind closed doors. They intend to pass the measure using the reconciliation process on their own without Republican support. But the maneuver requires all 50 Senate Democrats to coalesce behind the nascent spending plan.

A spokesperson for McConnell pointed Insider to McConnell's Monday Senate floor remarks.

"Party-line scheming is going to crowd that out," the Kentucky Republican said. "Our side cannot agree to frantically steamroll through bipartisan talks in order to meet an artificial timeline, so our Democrat colleagues can clear the decks to ram through a party-line tax hike."


So far, Senate Democrats have struck a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on slashing the cost of prescription drugs in addition to imposing a new tax on some high-earners to strengthen Medicare. As Democrats made headway towards clinching a deal with Manchin, McConnell threatened to tank the bipartisan China bill, which would shore up federal spending on microchips among other initiatives.

But Manchin made it clear that he's not abandoning negotiations with Senate Majority Chuck Schumer due to McConnell's threat, comparing it to hostage-taking.

"I'm not walking away if anybody's gonna threaten me or hold me hostage if I can help the country," the conservative Democrat told reporters on Monday. "And if they want to play politics and play party politics, shame on 'em."