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Representatives Andrew Garbarino, Nicole Malliotakis Among Freshman Republicans Pledging To Work Together With Democrats, President Biden

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Following President Joe Biden's call for unity, more than a dozen freshman Republican congressmen pledge to work together on behalf of the American people, but is it really possible to change the partisanship in Washington?

They swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States, but the big question is whether the new freshman class in Congress can stop the so-called "swearing" -- the name-calling and the partisan attacks.

"Fighting and just throwing little jib-jabs there on social media, it doesn't work. It just breaks down communication," Rep. Andrew Garbarino said.

"We all need to all take a step back and take a deep breath," Rep. Nicole Malliotakis said.

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Garbarino and Malliotakis are two of 16 freshman Republican congressmen who sent a letter to Biden, pledging to work with him.

The letter says in part, "The partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American."

After she beat incumbent Democrat Max Rose, Malliotakis promised a conservative answer to what she called Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "socialist squad."

She thinks the road to bipartisanship depends on Biden reining in what she calls the extremists.

"He cannot allow the radical fringe of the socialists within the Democratic party to just hijack the entire agenda," Malliotakis said.

Both lawmakers feel they can find common ground fighting COVID and supporting infrastructure projects that are badly needed in the state.

But for some incoming Democrats, including the man who represents one Westchester district, the wounds of the election and the challenges to the Biden victory still haven't healed.

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"It's difficult to achieve bipartisanship with people who were co-conspirators in the attempted coup on January 6th. There has been no accountability from my Republicans colleagues who participated in the big lie that November's presidential election was somehow stolen," Rep. Mondaire Jones said.

CBS2's Marcia Kramer asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer how you change the tone.

"Reach out to our Republican colleagues to work together with them. We do believe we need big, bold change. We cannot be stymied, we cannot have little baby steps," Schumer said.

The lawmakers all seem to agree that job one is the pandemic.


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