New Poll Shows Public Still Strongly Supports 'Build Back Better'
The first major poll since President Joe Biden announced his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better jobs framework on Thursday shows strong public support for the package's climate and caregiving provisions. It also shows voters want to see Medicare negotiate lower prescription drug prices and support paid parental leave policies.
After some Democrats in Congress balked at Biden's initial $3.5 trillion package, on October 28 the White House announced an investment package totaling about half that amount.
The plan would invest $555 billion in clean energy and climate change; $400 billion for affordable child care and free preschool education; $150 billion for affordable housing; $150 billion for home care; $130 billion to provide health care coverage to uninsured Americans; $35 billion to add hearing benefits to Medicare; and a permanent expanded child tax credit. It would be entirely paid for through savings and additional revenue from taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.
On Tuesday, Morning Consult/Politicoreleased a national tracking poll of registered voters conducted between Saturday and Monday. It found that the investments included in the framework enjoy voter support.
Asked about many of the clean energy and climate change provisions, voters backed government incentives for solar panels in homes (61 percent -24 percent), for fortifications against extreme weather (62 percent -22 percent), and for clean energy tech innovation (62 percent -24 percent).
Pluralities also supported paying utility companies to increase their renewable energy supplies (50 percent -33 percent) and offering tax credits to consumers for electric vehicle purchases (47 percent -37 percent).
Voters favored government funding for child care and pre-K education 61 percent -28 percent. They agreed 56 percent -26 percent that families should pay no more than 7 percent of their income on child care costs. They supported extending Biden's monthly child tax credit of up to $300 per child 53 percent -34 percent.
The health care provisions also enjoyed broad support: Most voters said they favor adding hearing services to Medicare (78 percent -12 percent), offering tax credits to reduce Affordable Care Act premiums (53 percent -30 percent), and offering subsidized insurance for those whose states opted not to expand Medicaid (63 percent -24 percent).
Investments in affordable housing were favored 66 percent -25 percent, while expanded home health care for older Americans and people with disabilities enjoyed 79 percent-12 percent support.
While currently the $1.75 trillion framework omits two key Biden priorities — paid family leave and lower prescription drug prices — Democratic lawmakers are still in negotiations about possible ways to add those to the package or enact them in the future.
The survey found both are quite popular: Voters favor paid family and medical leave for new parents by a 70 percent -20 percent supermajority and want Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drug prices by an even wider margin of 72 percent -15 percent.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly said Democrats had reached a deal to add a prescription drug negotiation provision to the package.
Biden has urged the House to pass his $550 billion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes additional investments in broadband, transportation, water system, electric vehicle, and clean energy infrastructure. The poll found Americans back that bill 54 percent -31 percent.
Despite the voters' opinions, congressional Republicans unanimously oppose the Build Back Better agenda, and House GOP leaders are whipping members against both packages.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.