The other day, Bernie was in Kentucky, campaigning with Charles Booker for the issues that motivate both of them. And according to the new survey of likely voters released by DataForProgress, issues that are super popular among most Americans. They polled voters on Biden's new "American Families Plan" and found substantial majorities in favor of the whole plan and of every individual component of the plan-- a plan currently being obstructed by conservatives in Congress.
Nutrition assistance, which Republicans have been systematically cutting since Reagan was president is the most popular component and is backed by 70% of likely voters and opposed by only 23%, so not even the third of Americans who identify as conservatives can must their negativity on that one! They save that for opposition to free community college (which is opposed by 40%-- and backed by 51%-- of likely voters).
Morgan Sperry and Ethan Winter pointed out that the survey found that these "likely voters are flexible in how to pay for the American Families Plan-- a majority of likely voters support paying for it by raising taxes on wealthy Americans and a majority of likely voters support paying for it by increasing the national deficit. Notably, a majority of self-identified independents support both pay-for schemes. In addition, we find that broad majorities of likely voters-- across self-identified partisan lines-- support passing both the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan even after being told this may require the use of reconciliation, allowing the proposals to pass with only 51 votes in the Senate." In other words, they recognize that the Beltway "bipartisanship bullshit" from hypocrites on the right, outs not be allowed to stand in the way of progress.
I'm sure you'll recall that those great bipartisan in Congress-- every single one of them in the House and every single one of them in the Senate-- opposed Biden's pandemic rescue plan. They all smugly voted NO to a bill that not only most normal Americans wanted but even that most Republican voters wanted. The bill is working to do exactly what it was designed to do and now individual congressional Republicans who voted against it, are trying to take some of the credit for it! AP's Steve Peoples filed a report on that this morning: Republicans promote pandemic relief they voted against.
He began with Staten Island/Brooklyn freshman Nicole Malliotakis, who now says it "pained" her to vote against the bill. "But in the weeks that followed," wrote Peoples, "the first-term Republican issued a news release celebrating more than $3.7 million from the package that went to community health centers in her district as one of her 'achievements.' She said she prided herself on 'bringing federal funding to the district and back into the pockets of taxpayers.'
Malliotakis is far from alone" as hypocritical and deceptive Republicans "have promoted elements of the legislation they fought to defeat."
The Republicans’ favorite provisions represent a tiny sliver of the massive law, which sent $1,400 checks to millions of Americans, extended unemployment benefits until September, increased the child tax credit, offered housing assistance for millions of low-income Americans and expanded health care coverage. Republicans tried to negotiate a smaller package, arguing that Biden’s plan was too expensive and not focused enough on the nation’s health and economic crises.
Democrats are promising to make the pandemic relief vote — and the Republican resistance to it — a central element in their political strategy moving into next year’s midterm elections as they defend delicate House and Senate majorities. And there are early signs that Republicans may struggle to defend their opposition to the popular legislative package, which was designed to protect the nation’s fragile economic recovery following the worst public health threat in a century.
GOP lawmakers have been especially bullish about promoting the rescue plan’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which devoted $28.6 billion to the struggling industry. Applications for the program opened this week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) topped a group of at least eight Republicans who have encouraged constituents to apply in recent days. The others included Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY); Greg Pence (R-IN); Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA); Beth Van Duyne (R-TX); Troy Balderson (R-OH); and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).
...“Sen. Wicker co-authored the amendment that successfully added the Restaurant provision to the reconciliation bill. Why wouldn’t he want to encourage participation?” Wicker spokesman Phillip Waller said.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition acknowledged the Republican’s awkward position, but offered its thanks anyway.
“Senator Wicker did not vote for the package (we wish all members did!), but his work on the RESTAURANTS Act from the beginning made the relief fund possible,” the industry group tweeted. “We are grateful for that work.”
And White House spokesman Andrew Bates sarcastically expressed appreciation for the Republicans who have begun to tout elements of Biden’s stimulus.
“The American people-- majorities of Democrats, independents, and Republicans-- have long been firmly unified behind the American Rescue Plan,” Bates said. “So it’s heartening to see Republicans in Congress reaching across the aisle to endorse it-- even retroactively.”
The politics of the Republican position are complicated.
The GOP ultimately benefited politically after uniting against the massive economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. Republicans scored massive gains in the House and Senate the following year. While the GOP is optimistic it will retake the House majority in 2022, it’s far from clear whether the stimulus vote will help it get there.
Polling suggests the Biden stimulus is overwhelmingly popular. Two in 3 voters have consistently supported the $1.9 trillion package in recent polling, while individual elements such as the $1,400 direct payments to individuals are even more popular.
And just three months after the bill was signed into law, the Republican opposition has only begun to be tested.
The Democratic National Committee has already launched “digital takeovers” of local news websites in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania to thank Democrats and highlight the Republican obstruction. The White House’s political arm has also put up billboards in 20 states calling out Republicans and focused on the Republican opposition in training for Democratic officials.
“Between now and next year’s midterm elections, we’re going to make sure every voter remembers how Republicans tried to stand in the way of this economic boom and our return to normalcy,” said DNC spokesman Ammar Moussa. “And you can count on Democrats to call Republicans out for their hypocrisy when they try to tout the same programs they voted against.”
Beyond funding for restaurants, Republicans have also touted millions of dollars in health care grants allocated to their districts in the latest stimulus plan.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) in late March pointed to millions of dollars in such grants on social media, saying he was “proud” to see the taxpayer dollars returning to his district. A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Last year Moe Davis rang for the western North Carolina congressional seat currently occupied by Cawthorn. With voters increasingly shocked at what they stumbled into, it looks like Davis may run again. This morning he told me that "It’s no surprise that Madison Cawthorn would try to take credit for millions of dollars in aid to Western North Carolinians that he specifically voted against. He’s a liar. Remember, Cawthorn won election by lying to voters about being accepted to the Naval Academy, and he got away with it. He accepted praise for serving in the military when he didn’t serve. He lied about being a Washington outsider, when financial records showed he was bought and paid for by corporations and politicians like Ted Cruz. Madison Cawthorn lies. That’s what he does. Honesty means nothing to a man with no conscience."