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GOP Furious Over Biden’s Strong Polling Numbers

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Polling released over the past two days shows both of President Joe Biden's major pieces of legislation — the American Rescue Plan coronavirus relief package and the American Jobs Plan infrastructure bill — are overwhelmingly popular with the American public.

The legislation remains popular even after continued GOP criticism that the plans are "radical" and "socialist" and will increase the national debt.

Now Politico is reporting that moderate Republicans are "seething" over their failure to move Biden's policies to the right. One aide to a GOP lawmaker said, "Everything they support is defined as either Covid relief or infrastructure, and everything they oppose is like … Jim Crow voter suppression and evil. And you constantly just feel like you're in this gaslighting chamber of insanity. But it's working."

A look at the polling shows just how badly the GOP's attempts to make Biden's policies unpopular have gone.

A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday found 63 percent of Americans support the coronavirus relief package Biden signed into law, which authorized a round of $1,400 relief checks, extended more generous federal unemployment benefits, and expanded the child tax credit in a manner that some analysts said would help drastically cut child poverty rates.

Monmouth said the rate of support for the relief package is actually now higher than the 62 percent it saw in March, when the bill first passed without a single Republican vote.

The recent polling finds that GOP attacks on Biden's $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure package are also falling flat.

Republicans have slammed the legislation, saying that only a small fraction goes towards infrastructure, and that the mechanism to pay for it — increased taxes on the rich and corporations — is going to hurt the economy.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) complained that the plan contained billions in spending for elder care, which she said is not infrastructure.

However, a Politico/Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday found 54 percent of voters believe that caregiving should be considered infrastructure. That poll also found a majority of voters consider funding for child care, public schools, water pipes, internet access, and housing to be infrastructure as well.

The poll found that 57 percent of voters support the American Jobs Plan.

Other recent polls also show that a majority of the public supports the plan, including a New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll released Thursday that found 64 percent of Americans support it.

This is despite Republicans' ongoing attempts to scare the public away.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said that increased taxes on corporations and on wealthy Americans — such as himself, with an estimated net worth of $39.2 million as of 2018 — would damage the economy.

"Increasing the corporate tax rate won't pull us out of the COVID recession or set up long-term economic prosperity, but keeping the American corporate tax rate competitive will help businesses recover," Johnson tweeted on April 6.

But a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found the plan actually got more popular among Americans when they learned it would be funded by taxes on corporations.

RealClearPolitics reported that the House Republican Study Committee, the largest GOP conference in the chamber, had former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in to give its members a pep talk on Wednesday on how to successfully vilify Biden's agenda, telling them to call Biden a liar and saying, "When your opponent is in the midst of committing suicide, there is no reason to commit murder. The result is the same."

"We didn't lose the White House because the American people disagree with our ideas and support what [Democrats] are trying to do right now," Christie claimed.

Current polling is pointing in a different direction.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Republicans Demand Gas Tax Hike To Fund Infrastructure

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Among Congressional Republicans' reasons for opposing President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan is its provision for increasing the corporate tax rate.

Some GOP lawmakers are urging instead a hike in the gasoline tax to fund infrastructure investments.

Unlike a corporate tax increase, a higher gasoline tax could disproportionatelyhurt working and lower-income Americans. It would impact those who have to drive to and for work and apply equally to lower- and higher-income drivers.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who attended a meeting on Monday between Biden and a group of Congress members from both parties to discuss the infrastructure plan, told the Washington Post that he urged Biden to reconsider increasing the gasoline tax.

"Roads, bridges, and ports are undoubtedly infrastructure, and I believe that energy grids, broadband, and clean water can fit the definition as well. But I have concern that moving too far beyond this could sink the bill," Young said.

Biden's plan calls for partially rescinding the massive corporate tax cuts that were included in Donald Trump's 2017 tax law, raising the rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and closing some loopholes. This would bring in an estimated $2.5 trillion in new revenue over the next 15 years.

Corporate interest groups like the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have opposed the tax rate increases included in the plan. The Republican lawmakers they have helped bankroll have indicated that they all plan to oppose the increases.

"I view the 2017 tax bill as one of my signature achievements in my entire career," Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) told reporters on Monday. "It would be an almost impossible sell for the president to come to a bipartisan agreement that included the undoing of that signature."

But polls show strong public support for both Biden's infrastructure plan and the corporate tax increases that would fund it. A Morning Consult/Politico poll released on April 7 found 65 percent support for a funding the plan through increased corporate tax revenues, including 42 percent support from Republican voters.

John Anzalone, who was pollster for Biden's 2020 campaign, told Axios on Sunday that raising taxes on corporations is a political winner: "We can take control of the tax narrative like we did in the Biden campaign — which was to say, 'No, that's not true, your taxes aren't going to increase, it's only those who are making over $400,000 and big corporations, who haven't been paying their fair share of taxes over the years.'"

Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested a gas tax increase might be considered, but the administration decided against it.

Biden, who has repeatedly said he will not raise federal taxes on families making less than $400,000 annually, has indicated he is against increasing the tax on gasoline. Reuters reported on Monday that, according to a White House official, Biden told lawmakers that increased gas taxes would not provide a significant boost to federal revenues.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Senate GOP Memo On Biden Jobs Plan Is Replete With Lies

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new messaging memo from the Senate Republican Conference to its members' communications teams frames President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan as a "job-crushing slush fund."

According to Politico, the memo, dated April 11, dismisses the $2.25 trillion infrastructure package as a "partisan plan to kill jobs and create slush funds on the taxpayer dime."

The memo is the latest in a series of attempts by Congressional Republicans to dent the bipartisan popularity of Biden's plan. Recent polling has shown that the vast majority of likely American voters, including 57 percent of Republicans, back the plan to invest trillions of dollars in roads, bridges, broadband, transit, water systems, clean energy, and human infrastructure like child care.

But Senate Republicans are signaling they will unanimously oppose the plan, just as they did the similarly popular $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Among the memo's false statements:

Biden's Partisan, Job-Crushing Slush Fund spends just 5% of the total $2.7 trillion on roads and bridges.
The rest is:
  • a wish list of non-infrastructure spending on failed Obama policies;
  • a dog's breakfast of slush funds for Democrats' pet projects without any accountability or transparency;
  • expensive green energy mandates on Americans;
  • a ban on the right to work;
  • and a flurry of tax hikes that will to drive companies out of the U.S. and give China and Russia a say in the United States' tax laws.
As a result, the plan will eliminate at least 1 million jobs.

The claim that the investments will eliminate 1 million jobs is based on a prediction contained in a study conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group representing corporations that would see an increased tax rate under the plan. The group strongly backed the 2017 Trump corporate tax cuts that Biden's plan would partially reverse.

But other estimates have suggested the plan would instead increase the number of jobs. An analysis conducted at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill would create or preserve 15 million jobs over the next decade. A Moody's Analytics report said that the economy will create 19 million jobs if the American Jobs Plan becomes law — 2.7 million more than it would without the legislation.

Several congressional Republicans have said that the bill's human infrastructure provisions don't count as infrastructure. But even the dictionarydefinition they have circulated notes that infrastructure includes the "basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise."

Polling has shown widespread support for the child care and caregiving provisions of the bill, though at least one Senate Republican has attackedcaring for older Americans as an insidious part of Democrats' "liberal agenda."

The plan does not take away any "right to work." It includes a provision — known as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act — that would protect the rights of workers to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.

Fact-checkers have debunked the claim that only five percent of the bill is really infrastructure spending.

The Washington Post noted on April 5 that the five percent figure omits rail and water systems that were even included in Donald Trump's infrastructure proposals, observing, "To say that Biden's plan would devote only five to seven percent of its $2.3 trillion cost toward 'real infrastructure' is highly misleading, the kind of talking point that tries to erase recent history and parts of the English language as a battle begins to heat up in Congress."

The Republican memo was sent just before President Biden was scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the plan with a delegation of Congress members from both parties.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

VIDEO: Sanders Tells Biden, Don’t ‘Slow Down” On Infrastructure

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said over the weekend that amid the immediate emergencies of climate change, Covid-19, mass unemployment, and homelessness, congressional Democrats cannot afford to dampen their infrastructure ambitions in the hopes of winning support from obstructionist Republicans.

"The time is now to go forward," Sanders (I-Vt.) told the Washington Post. "This country faces enormous crises that have got to be addressed right now. When you have half a million people who are homeless, I'm not going to slow down."

"When the scientists tell us we have five or six years before there will be irreparable damage done because of climate change," the Vermont senator added, "I'm not going to slow down."

Sanders' remarks came as the Democratic leadership is weighing how to proceed with the roughly $2.3 trillion infrastructure packagePresident Joe Biden unveiled last month, a proposal that will serve as a starting point for congressional negotiations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she hopes to pass infrastructure legislation by July.

But unified Republican opposition to the package and growing complaints from conservative deficit scolds within the Democratic caucus are threatening to impede work on the package that progressives hope to transform into a sprawling bill that deals with a wide range of priorities, from climate to affordable housing to prescription drug prices.

On Monday, the Senate parliamentarian gave Democrats a green light to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process for additional spending legislation this year, granting the party the option to move ahead with an infrastructure measure without Republican support.

Sanders told the Post that he is preparing to use the reconciliation tool, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has not publicly committed to that strategy as the Biden administration continues to hold out hope for a bipartisan compromise. With the legislative filibuster in place, Senate Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill through regular order.

"The president believes that there's a path forward to get... this American Jobs Plan passed with bipartisan support," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a Thursday briefing. "That's why he's going to invite Democrats and Republicans here. That's why he's going to hear from them on their ideas that they've already put forward."

But progressive lawmakers have cautioned the Biden administration against weakening an infrastructure package they believe is already insufficient in a likely futile effort to win over Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against a broadly popular $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last month.

"Let's not water down a bill for a party that's not actually interested in bipartisanship or wait for Republicans to have some awakening on climate change," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said earlier this month. "Let's move with the urgency and boldness that this moment calls for."

In a report released Thursday, Adam Hersh of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mark Paul of the New College of Florida argued that under-spending in response to the current crises risks long-term damage to the economy and the climate—a warning progressives cited as all the more reason to quickly push ahead with an ambitious recovery package.

In an appearance on MSNBC Saturday, Sanders said that Republican lawmakers are "probably not" going to accept arguments in support of big spending on climate solutions, core infrastructure, caregiving, and more.

"They live in their world, and their world will be trying to obstruct as much as possible what Biden and many of us in the Congress are trying to do," Sanders said, arguing that the GOP's top priority is "trying to divide us up by stressing xenophobia, racism, [and] making it harder for people to vote."

"Our job," Sanders said, "is to rally the American people around an agenda that works for workers and the middle class, who have been neglected for so many years. It is the right thing to do policy-wise, it is the right thing to do politically."