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Polls Show Massive Support For Biden's Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan

Screenshot from official @POTUS Instagram

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing a plan for somewhere between $3- and $4 trillion in American infrastructure improvements. While Congressional Republicans are again making noise about opposing it, a new poll finds wide support for many of its likely components.

A survey by Data for Progress and the pro-infrastructure group Invest in America, released Tuesday, found that 57 percent of American likely voters believe now is the time for a big investment, while just 35 percent believe it is not.

When told of the basics of a $4 trillion infrastructure plan, voters backed it 69 percent to 22 percent. Even Republicans supported it 50 percent to 42 percent.

Asked about specific components likely to be included in Biden's Build Back Better plan, the vast majority of Americans surveyed supported each:

  • 87 percent support repairing roads and bridges — including 84 percent of Republicans.
  • 85 percent support repairing drinking water systems — including 80 percent of Republicans.
  • 79 percent support improving broadband in rural communities — including 72 percent of Republicans.
  • 68 percent support building and promoting pollution-free public transit — including a 49 percent plurality of Republicans.
  • 72 percent support modernizing the electrical grid with clean energy infrastructure — including 56 percent of Republicans.
  • 68 percent support cleaning up abandoned gas wells and mines — including 56 percent of Republicans.
  • 71 percent support weatherizing homes and buildings for better energy efficiency — including 59 percent of Republicans.
  • 77 percent support modernizing schools and early learning centers — including 67 percent of Republicans.

Like the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, this legislation could be passed under budget reconciliation rules that allow the majority to enact legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate — circumventing the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid the filibuster. Or the two parties could collaborate and pass some or all of the plan through the normal process if at least ten Senate Republicans opt to work with the Democratic majority.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said earlier this month that he will not back using reconciliation for an infrastructure bill without trying to work out a deal with Republicans first.

But Senate Republicans — who unanimously opposed the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law despite strong public support, even among GOP voters — are already signaling they'd rather try to obstruct this plan too.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that his caucus will oppose any new revenue to pay for the infrastructure, calling Biden's plan a "Trojan horse."

He predicted that the Democrats will pass the bill on their own, without GOP support: "I fully expect that's what they'll try to do, and that's because I don't think there's going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase."

Asked about plans to collaborate on portions where there is agreement and to consider the rest under reconciliation rules, Senate Minority Whip John Thune told HuffPost on Tuesday: "If the ploy is to lure Republicans to vote for the easy stuff and then do all the controversial stuff through reconciliation — I don't think our guys take the bait."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) dismissed the plan as a "boondoggle."

Donald Trump ran in 2016 on a promise to enact a massive infrastructure plan to "build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports, and airports."

He falsely claimed in his June 2015 presidential campaign announcement that he would "rebuild the country's infrastructure" better than anybody else could. "Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought."

But his promised $2 trillion plan went nowhere with either Democrats or Republicans in Congress, his administration's botched "infrastructure week" kickoffs became a national joke, and he called off bipartisan negotiations in 2019 because he was mad House Democrats were doing oversight of his administration.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Keep reading... Show less

Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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