New York Times: Republicans Struggle to Attack Survival Checks, Economic Relief for Struggling Families
A bipartisan majority of Americans support Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to provide relief to provide survival checks, get schools re-opened, and create 10 million new jobs.
A new New York Times/Survey Monkey poll shows that 72 percent of Americans support the rescue plan – including more than 4 in 10 Republicans.
Polls suggest that could be a tough fight for Republicans, as many of the bill’s provisions are widely popular. In the SurveyMonkey poll, 4 in 5 respondents said it was important for the relief bill to include $1,400 direct checks, including nearly 7 in 10 Republicans. A similarly large group of respondents said it was important to include aid to state and local governments and money for vaccine deployment.
The American people care that working families, local school districts, and small businesses need help – even if House Republicans don’t.
Read Highlights Below
New York Times
February 19, 2021
Emily Cochrane and Jim Tankersley
- Republicans are struggling to persuade voters to oppose President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan, which enjoys strong, bipartisan support nationwide even as it is moving through Congress with just Democratic backing.
- Those attacks have followed weeks of varying Republican objections to the package, including warnings that it would do little to help the economy recover and grow, that it would add to the federal budget deficit and possibly unleash faster inflation, and that Democrats were violating Mr. Biden’s calls for “unity” by proceeding without bipartisan consensus.
- The arguments have so far failed to connect, in part because many of its core provisions poll strongly — even with Republicans.
- House Republican leaders on Friday urged their rank-and-file members to vote against the plan, billing it as Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California’s “Payoff to Progressives Act.” They detailed more than a dozen objections to the bill, including “a third round of stimulus checks costing more than $422 billion, which will include households that have experienced little or no financial loss during the pandemic.” Ms. Pelosi’s office issued its own rebuttal soon after, declaring “Americans need help. House Republicans don’t care.”
- The Republican pushback is complicated by the pandemic’s ongoing economic pain, with millions of Americans still out of work and the recovery slowing. It is also hampered by the fact that many of the lawmakers objecting to Mr. Biden’s proposals supported similar provisions, including direct checks to individuals, when Mr. Trump was president.
- “What they’ve tried to do is pick apart individual pieces of it,” Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview. “But I think on an overall basis, you have to contrast that with how well this is being received across the country.”
- Some Republican lawmakers and aides acknowledge the challenge they face in trying to explain to voters why they object to the package, particularly after reaching agreement with Democrats on several rounds of aid earlier in the crisis. Many of those negotiations were contentious and stretched for months; Mr. Biden has said he will not wait for Republicans to join his effort, citing the urgency of the economy’s needs.
- The scattershot critique is a contrast from the last time a president used the parliamentary move, called budget reconciliation, to push a major proposal: the $1.5 trillion tax cut package that Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans passed in 2017 without any Democratic votes. Shortly before the first House hearing on the tax cuts, Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee made a plan to brand the bill as a “tax scam” benefiting the rich and the powerful, before Republicans could sell it as a boon to the middle class.
- Polls suggest that could be a tough fight for Republicans, as many of the bill’s provisions are widely popular. In the SurveyMonkey poll, 4 in 5 respondents said it was important for the relief bill to include $1,400 direct checks, including nearly 7 in 10 Republicans. A similarly large group of respondents said it was important to include aid to state and local governments and money for vaccine deployment.
Read the full story here