New polling released this afternoon by Change Research shows that Biden's agenda is very popular with the voters. "Voters overwhelmingly support the American Rescue Plan. Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package is supported by 69% of voters and opposed by just 26%. Even 39% of Trump voters support it. That includes 52% of Trump voters in households with incomes under $50,000." The same poll shows the voters support ending the filibuster by an 8-point margin, although if Republicans use a filibuster to block a $15 minimum wage that margin goes up tp 14 points.
The pollsters also report that "student loan debt forgiveness is supported by a majority of voters, at both the $10,000 and $50,000 levels. Voters support $10,000 worth of debt forgiveness by a 55% to 40% margin, and $50,000 of forgiveness by 52% to 43%."
None the less, large majorities of congressional Republicans oppose all of these programs and have pledged (to each other) to fight them. Over in the Senate Susan Collins, Rob Portman and Lisa Murkowski, who just want to cut back on all of Biden's proposals, not eliminate them, are furious that Biden is moving so fast and that they are not in control. Biden, Schumer and Bernie are moving ahead with budget reconciliation, which will leave the conservatives pounding sand, either voting for relief for their constituents or against it. Murkowski: "I think it would be wise for the new administration to work to try to get a bipartisan proposal that can be moved through. I think that that speaks exactly to President Biden's comments just a week ago now it seems like it's been longer than a week but he's only been sworn in, for a week now. And he spoke to unity and working together. Well, we're giving an opportunity to come together on important and timely legislation, so why wouldn't you do that rather than trying to move it through with reconciliation and having a fully partisan product."
It's amazing-- shocking for me-- that Biden is not going to play these bullshit games with these reactionaries who don't seem to understand that this is not a negotiation; it is an effort to get overdue aid to the American people as fast as is humanly possible. The "moderate" Republicans want to cut Biden's bill from $1.9 trillion down to half a trillion-- and to eliminate the $15 minimum wage-- and the Democrats don't want to waste time dickering with them. The conservatives' latest "bipartisan" proposal, which they leaked to the press, was for Biden to cut his bill into pieces so they could vote on each piece. He told them-- basically-- to go fuck themselves and that there are never going to be enough Republican votes to overcome a filibuster by the extremists, so why dick around over half measures when they can pass the whole thing with a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill. Biden's press secretary tweeted this morning that "The needs of the American people are urgent from putting food on the table, to getting vaccines out the door to reopening schools. Those aren’t partisan issues. We are engaging with a range of voices-- that’s democracy in action-- we aren’t looking to split a package in two." Collins and her crew are very grumpy over this.
NBC News reported that White House economic adviser Brian Deese and Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zientz held a call today with Senate Dems to talk about allowing the conservatives to slim down the deal in return for a bipartisan look or to use reconciliation. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD): "The sentiment is this: We would like Republicans to work with us to be part of the solution to deliver emergency help, but we can’t wait, it’s urgent, and we need to double-track this process. So we will continue to reach out to Republicans, but I’m a big supporter of having an insurance policy in place through reconciliation." Biden and most Democrats want to keep the price tag at $1.9 trillion, which is already bare-bones enough without getting cut further.
Schumer says he is with Bernie on this-- the big, bold robust plan-- while conservative Democrats like Manchin and Warner agree with the Republicans-- as always-- that the bill should be much smaller. Schumer: "Our preference is to make this important work bipartisan-- to include input, ideas and revisions from our Republican colleagues or bipartisan efforts to do the same. But if our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them."
Bernie has dismissed the whole bullshit dance with the fake "moderates" who want to slash the bill, calling the knee-jerk attempt to make it "bipartisan" quixotic.
[Bernie and Ed Markey] are cautioning against a repeat of the first year of the Obama administration, when the economy was in free-fall and Democrats worked to find bipartisan support for a major stimulus bill, which they believe wasted valuable time and resulted in a recovery package that was too small.
Prospects of a bipartisan deal appear slim. The working group has met several times this week without evident progress toward agreement. Nothing further is currently on the calendar, aides say.
Republicans say they favor additional assistance for distributing the vaccine and reopening schools. But they're skeptical of other provisions, including the $1,400 direct payments.
...If they go it alone, Democrats have no room for error: All 50 senators would have to be unified in order to secure a partisan bill, and the measure would need to clear a narrow House majority.
"The size of the package is critical for us. It cannot be watered down below $1.9 trillion. That should be the minimum," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who said her group has discussed her priorities directly with Deese. "We like that this is an aggressive bill."
There's still probably a better chance to get one or two of the Republicans to sign on than fake Democrat (and sociopath) Kyrsten Sinema.