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Statement by Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet on the Capitol assault and challenges ahead

The abhorrent attack on the Capitol broke more than windows. The violence also shattered the premise that our nation’s leaders can denigrate our democracy without consequences. The Bipartisan Policy Center joins the chorus of institutions and individuals condemning those who defiled our Capitol as well as those who facilitated and encouraged the attack.

While fragile, our democracy has once again proven its resilience. BPC commends Congress for swiftly reconvening and certifying the election of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.  During this unprecedented session, many lawmakers offered inspiring statements about the imperative to protect our vital traditions and heal our divisions. It is unfortunate that it took an actual attack on our democracy to jolt some members of Congress to place the nation’s interest above political expediency. The question now is whether this flourish of patriotism will translate into greater collaboration and institutional competence or quickly fade to the accepted normalcy of bitter partisanship.

The proof will be in our elected officials’ commitment and ability to repair our damaged institutions and constructively engage the profound challenges facing our nation. Following the inauguration, BPC calls on the incoming president and the bipartisan leadership of Congress to engage in a multi-day summit at Camp David.

Our hope is that our nation’s leaders focus on two legislative imperatives primed to generate broad-based bipartisan support. First is to extend and improve upon critical COVID-19 relief measures which are needed to help millions of families make it through the winter.  The second opportunity is a major infrastructure investment that will create millions of jobs while modernizing our economy. Early success in these two arenas is also essential to rebuild trust in our governing institutions and restore a measure of dignity to our democracy.

In the past, Camp David has served as a venue for healing divisions in other nations. It is now clear that we must rediscover the capacity to lead ourselves before we can lead the world. Our nation is in crisis and requires a bold demonstration of immediate action – not just hopeful words. That healing can, and must, start now.