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Democrats and Republicans are working together

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U.S. Senators Mitt Romney, Kyrsten Sinema, Susan Collins, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner depart after attending a bipartisan work group meeting on an infrastructure bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Washington and the broader American electorate are sharply divided along partisan lines, but there are still some places where Republicans and Democrats in Congress share common ground.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis both think Congress needs to step up on cryptocurrency. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, agrees with fellow Californian Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, in wondering whether stock-trading rules for members of Congress could be tightened. And almost all lawmakers in Congress think something ought to be done to bolster U.S. competitiveness with China.

In three separate areas — a China-U.S. business bill, regulations on cryptocurrency and revisions to the Electoral Count Act of 1887 — Democrats and Republicans could find themselves championing similar legislation as they hit the campaign trail for the midterm elections this year.

The two sides also managed to reach a compromise in November on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which will pour hundreds of billions into roads, bridges and broadband across the country over the next several years. Democrats and Republicans — many of whom voted against the infrastructure legislation — have touted funding for local transportation projects stemming from the law.

But such bipartisanship carries risks for both sides.

Democrats, who hold narrow majorities in Congress, face an uphill battle this year given President Joe Biden’s flagging polling numbers, the historical tendency for the president’s party to lose seats in a first-term midterm campaign and the potential for alienating their liberal base by making concessions to Republicans.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans striking deals with Democrats could mean trouble for them in the primaries with former President Donald Trump. The ex-president has a habit of lashing out at members of the GOP whom he deems disloyal, such as former ally and ex-Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republicans who backed the infrastructure bill.

And, like all things in Washington, whether the two parties can unite behind any of these initiatives will depend on minute details.

Stock-trading clampdown

A growing number of Democrats and Republicans are moving toward legislation to bar members of Congress from trading stocks.

Several lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, came under fire in 2020 for transactions during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Federal health officials briefed lawmakers on the virus and its potential impact before that intelligence was widely distributed to the public, raising questions whether legislators’ subsequent stock trades were tainted.

The push to limit lawmakers’ stock…

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Democrats and Republicans are working together