Despite sniping, Congress actually sometimes embraced bipartisanship in 2021

With gridlock and partisanship being frequent topics of conversation on Capitol Hill this year, moments of bipartisanship can seem few and far between. But Congress did, in fact, get along some of the time.

Here are some examples of bipartisan action in 2021.

1. Congress passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a bill addressing the spike in ​​hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, attributed to the disease's origins in China. 

President Joe Biden signed the bill into law in May, although his administration has recently faced criticism from some who say the bill has yet to be fully implemented.


2. Both chambers overwhelmingly approved a bill to create a federal holiday commemorating Juneteenth, the anniversary on which a group of enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas, discovered on June 19, 1865, that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed it. 

A yearslong push to make the occasion a federal holiday accelerated after protests about racial injustice and police brutality following the murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd in police custody last year. 

3. The CAROL Act has yet to be signed into law, but it was unanimously passed by the House earlier this month. 

The bill, named the Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act, was introduced earlier this year by Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr in honor of his late wife, Eleanor "Carol" Leavell Barr, who unexpectedly died in June 2020. A coroner later attributed her death to an underlying heart condition known as mitral valve prolapse.

If passed, the bill would authorize a grant program administered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for research and to fund a public awareness campaign about the condition that often goes undetected. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a New York Democrat, co-sponsored the legislation.

The legislation awaits action in the Senate, where a companion version was introduced by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona.

4. Although not without its share of political drama, Congress did pass legislation aimed at modernizing the nation's aging infrastructure, with some bipartisan support in both chambers. 

5. Congress passed a bill spearheaded by Sens. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican, and Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, to create a memorial on the National Mall honoring the veterans of the Global War on Terrorism.

Ernst, a veteran, and Hassan, a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, garnered not only the support of their congressional colleagues for the bill but also of the six surviving secretaries of defense and actor Gary Sinise. Biden signed the bill into law this month.


During a year when partisan divisions appeared to grow wider, there were glimpses of camaraderie among lawmakers.

Republican lawmakers recently took to Twitter to show support for Rep. Ruben Gallego after a Russian lawmaker threatened the Arizona Democrat on state television. And Vice President Kamala Harris invited every female senator to dinner at her residence.

Original Location: Despite sniping, Congress actually sometimes embraced bipartisanship in 2021


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