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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Republicans have been attacking President Joe Biden's jobs package for months, claiming its provisions would destroy the middle class and stop pharmaceutical research. A new poll shows broad support for both the overall plan and for the parts they have railed against.

According to a Navigator Research survey, released October 15, when told the basics of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package and how it would be funded, three-fifths of registered voters back the bill. These numbers were similar to last month's data from the firm.

Congressional Republicans unanimously oppose the plan, which would invest billions in child care, health care, free community college and pre-school, paid leave, clean energy, and climate change infrastructure and be funded by collecting more revenue from corporations and from people making $400,000 or more.

They have been especially vocal in their opposition to the tax increases — which they falsely claim would mostly be paid by lower- and middle-class Americans and would "cripple" the middle class. In reality, Congress' non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates federal taxes would be cut for American families in every income category earning under $200,000 a year.

The GOP has also fought to remove provisions aimed at saving Medicare money and lowering drug costs for Americans and businesses by allowing the government to purchase common medications in bulk and to negotiate better prices with pharmaceutical manufactures.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced the idea as "Socialist price controls" and warned that reduced industry profits will mean "fewer new drugs and cures." A Congressional Budget Office estimate in December 2019 predicted drug price legislation would result in just "approximately 8 fewer drugs" in total created over the next decade and "about 30 fewer drugs over the subsequent decade."

When those surveyed were asked about whether specific provisions in the package were a "good reason to pass the plan," two of the most popular items were "giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices" (backed 80 percent -20 percent) and "raising taxes on the rich and corporations to make sure they pay their fair share" (supported 75 percent -25 percent).

They also indicated strong support for adding dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare (82 percent -18 percent), lowering health insurance premiums for people who buy their own insurance (84 percent-16 percent), making child care more affordable (77 percent -23 percent), creating clean energy jobs (72 percent-29 percent), and guaranteeing universal paid family and medical leave (70 percent-30 percent).

Earlier polls have also shown strong popular support for the Build Back Better agenda and its individual provisions.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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