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Conservatives Continue To Obstruct Biden's COVID-Rescue Bill

Ted Cruz, Kyrsten Sinema-- there are villains on both sides of the aisle... and they work together

Most Americans don't know who most of the key DC players are who we write about daily and who dominate the national political news. New polling from YouGov asked voters what they thought of some of the politicians who are in the news. These numbers below are what percentage of voters didn't know either enough to have an opinion or just plain didn't know who they are:

  • Bernie- 11%

  • Ted Cruz- 20%

  • AOC- 23%

  • Ilhan Omar- 31%

  • Liz Cheney- 33%

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene- 33%

  • Josh Hawley- 40%

  • Joe Manchin- 43%

  • Lauren Boebert- 56%

These same voters were asked if they had heard about Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. 50% said they had heard a lot about it; 41% had heard "a little" about it and 9% said that had heard "nothing at all" about it. YouGov asked the 91% of people who knew what it is whether they approved or not. Among all registered voters 63% support it and 32% oppose it. Approval by party identification:

  • Democrats- 92% approve, 4% disapprove

  • Republicans- 32% approve, 57% disapprove

  • independents- 59% approve, 34% disapprove

Looking at three of the controversial components, 78% of voters approve of the $1,400 checks going to everyone earning less than $75,000 (including 63% of Republicans); 54% of registered voters approve of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour (including 21% of Republicans and 50% of independents); and 66% support additional funding for state and local governments (including 40% of Republicans and 60% of independents).

John Bresnahan, Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman write a daily political tip sheet, Punchbowl News. This morning they tackled the politics behind Biden's COVID-relief plan and how conservatives are already obstructing it despite this kind of big approval from voters across the political spectrum-- actual bipartisanship that doesn't exist Inside the Beltway, just in America.

They pointed out that last year Congress passed five key Covid relief bills by big bipartisan margins. But now, with Biden in the White House, and with the pandemic raging, Republicans want to apply the brakes, refusing Biden's call "to 'crush the virus' and finally get the U.S. economy back on its feet... Senior House GOP lawmakers and aides tell us that it’s possible just a handful of Republicans-- single digits, perhaps-- will vote for the Biden proposal. The Budget Committee will consider it this week, and it's expected on the floor next week."

The Punchbowl crew asserts that "There’s plenty of political peril for the GOP in opposing a package like this. The United States is reeling from a one-in-a-lifetime virus that’s killed nearly 500,000 people, devastated the economy and remade the political landscape. The Democrats’ Covid package will include tens of billions of dollars for vaccine funding and ramped-up testing, crucial unemployment benefits and $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans. Republicans have supported every one of these priorities in the past year, but now will vote no. The GOP clearly thinks they can oppose this package with little political fallout. Republicans say the minimum wage should not be hiked to $15-- especially in a Covid-related package. They say the state and local aid being pushed by Democrats is overly generous and a chunk of the aid Congress approved has not even been spent. Republicans say more should be done to get schools to reopen quickly. And they complain the overall price tag-- $1.9 trillion-- is way too high. At this point, any congressional relief bill should be more targeted, they argue."

Dems respond by insisting this plan is exactly what Biden promised when he ran for the White House and "note this is what Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ran on when they won Senate seats in Georgia in January. And they’re hell bent on delivering. If you ask Democratic leaders, they think their GOP counterparts are making a huge miscalculation opposing this bill. Republicans may have offered some good 'messaging' amendments on the Senate floor and in House committees, Democrats say, but at the end of the day, anyone who votes against stimulus checks and unemployment payments is going to pay for it in 2022. For Democrats, if Republicans want to vote no, that’s fine with them."

Bresnahan, Palmer and Sherman ask their readers to consider that Republicans are adrift and at each others' throats at the moment. "The lowest common denominator to get back on the same page will be opposing Biden and his agenda-- especially a package of this size. We saw them do this in 2009 with the stimulus. And we expect the same here."

It would help if Democrats were united, of course. But at the fringe of the party's Republican wing, sit the 2 worst Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV), who can count on some support from a handful of other very conservative Senate Democrats, like Mark Kelly (AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Warner (VA), possibly Tom Carper (DE), Maggie Hassan (NH), Tim Kaine (VA), Michael Bennet (CO), Frackenlooper (CO), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jacky Rosen (NV), and maybe even Biden-directed Chris Coons (DE). So... a mess.



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