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What a Bipartisan State of the Union Looks Like

In the run-up to the 2024 election, Biden has an opportunity to work with Republicans to lower hospital bills, reform higher education, and tackle violent crime, writes Arnold Ventures CEO and President Kelli Rhee in a Real Clear Policy op-ed.

Politics may feel divided, but political reality means that any significant federal policy needs bipartisan buy-in. President Biden needs to embrace this reality in his upcoming State of the Union address, writes Arnold Ventures CEO and President Kelli Rhee in a Real Clear Policy op-ed.

After all, the key successes of Biden’s first term have largely been passed on a bipartisan basis,” Rhee writes. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – the first federal gun safety policy in 30 years – all made it to Biden’s desk with significant Republican buy-in. Even the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed along partisan lines, included policies supported by Donald Trump like Medicare drug price negotiations.” 

In her op-ed, Rhee points to three areas where Biden can and should work with Republican lawmakers to address pressing issues: unaffordable hospital bills, higher education reforms, and criminal justice measures to tackle violent crime rates that still haven’t fully reversed their COVID-era spike. 

To address hospital bills, Biden should embrace the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, which received more than two-thirds support in the House, would enact site-neutral billing for certain procedures and save taxpayers roughly $6 billion over ten years

At a time when 85 percent of voters from both sides of the aisle say they support this type of policy, Biden should view this bill not only as smart politics, but also a first step to wider reform,” Rhee writes. 

For higher education, the president could work with Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Cornyn on the Streamlining Accountability and Value in Education (SAVE) for Students Act, which would hold colleges accountable for student outcomes. He could also support the bipartisan, bicameral College Transparency Act, which will not only help students and their families make smart choices about higher education, but also help lawmakers craft effective policies. 

Finally, Biden has the opportunity to get behind the bipartisan VICTIM Act, which would provide funds to help law enforcement improve clearance rates and solve violent crimes. The VICTIM Act passed the House in 2022 with bipartisan support and was recently introduced in the Senate by Sens. John Kennedy and Cory Booker.

[I]nitiatives like affordable health care, community safety, and robust higher education aren’t partisan issues,” Rhee writes. They’re American issues. And that’s something everyone – Democrats and Republicans – should be able to agree on.” 

Read the entire op-ed here.