Speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday evening for Rep. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) Senate campaign, Vice President Joe Biden criticized the Republican Party for following the lead of freshman Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on issues such as gun control.
While offering praise for Markey, Biden pressed Democrats to block Republicans from gaining more seats in the U.S. Senate.
"It’s a pretty simple proposition: The United States of America, and the state of Massachusetts, does not need another Republican in the Senate,” Biden said, according to a pool report. "This is not your father’s Republican Party. It really is a fundamentally different party. There’s never been as much distance, at least since I’ve been alive, distance between where the mainstream of the Republican congressional party is and the Democratic Party is. It’s a chasm. It’s a gigantic chasm.”
Biden said the "last thing" the country needs is a new senator who will back Cruz and Paul.
“Think about this,” he said. “Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate? That is not hyperbole.”
The vice president pointed specifically to the Senate's rejection of expanded background checks earlier this year. Biden said he reached out to 17 senators, including nine Republicans, ahead of the vote to urge them to support the measure.
"Not one of offered an explanation on the merits of why they couldn’t vote for the background check," Biden said. "But almost to a person, they said, ‘I don’t want to take on Ted Cruz. I don’t want to take on Rand Paul. They’ll be in my district.’"
Biden continued: “I actually said, ‘Are you kidding? These are two freshmen.'"
Former Vice President Al Gore also spoke at the fundraiser, lauding Markey for his work on climate change in Congress.
“He is the only member of congress to write legislation to fight global warming that passed either the House or the Senate – God bless him for that!” Gore said, according to the pool report.
Markey will face off against Republican Gabriel Gomez in a June 25 special election to fill the seat left vacant by John Kerry, who left the Senate in February after his confirmation as U.S. secretary of state.