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Tag: roger wicker

Congressional Republicans Frustrated As Biden Rides Strong Approval Ratings

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried to claim that President Joe Biden is already a failure, just a few months into his presidency. But a new poll shows the American public is not buying it.

"It took less than 5 months for President Biden and Speaker Pelosi's Socialist Democratic Agenda to fail," New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the new chair of the House Republican Conference, tweeted on Tuesday. "Unemployment is up, inflation is rising, & our economy is crippled by unnecessary spending."

Unemployment is actually down since Donald Trump left office in January and the economy is growing.

But that has not stopped numerous Republicans from making similar attacks on Biden.

Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff tweeted Thursday that Biden's "policies are failing the American people. We need a President who will open up our economy and get people back to work."

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Friday — incorrectly — that "Biden is failing so fast that his own voters are ready to vote for Trump in '24," apparently unaware of Biden's strong approval ratings.

Some GOP lawmakers have specifically singled out his immigration policies for ridicule.

"The border policies of the Biden Administration are a complete failure and are leading to a massive increase in illegal immigration – with no end in sight," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina charged on May 11.

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn on May 6 claimed a drop in deportations was "a failure of leadership."

Others have attacked Biden's handling of jobs and the economy.

"The Dems' 'COVID' recovery plan to pay people MORE on unemployment assistance than they made in their previous job is killing small businesses," wrote Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas on April 26. "This socialist policy was doomed to fail."

"In just four months, Biden has created four crises," claimed Alabama Rep. Barry Moore, citing the "Biden Border Crisis, Economic Crisis, Energy Crisis, National Security Crisis," as alleged examples. "This administration is failing the American people."

But the repetition of the claim does not appear to have swayed the public.

A new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, released Monday, found 62 percent job approval for Biden.

His handling of immigration (53 percent approval), the economy (62 percent), stimulating jobs (62 percent) and curbing the pandemic (70 percent) also enjoy broad approval.

This comes as unemployment claims have dropped to pandemic lows and most American adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Still, despite the strong public support for Biden, Republicans are fighting against his agenda. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on May 5 that ""One-hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration."

And Republicans reportedly are pulling back from infrastructure talks, upset that Biden wants to spend $1.5 trillion more than they do. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) told Politico on Tuesday that Republicans won't come up to "anywhere near the number the White House has proposed" for the American Jobs Plan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Press Keeps Chasing — And Never Finding — Those ‘Moderate Republicans’

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Busy pursuing the mythical creature known as the Republican "moderate" — that rare species of conservative who's willing to work with Democrats— the Beltway press recently announced a key sighting. A gaggle of influential "moderates" were willing to work with President Joe Biden to pass a sweeping infrastructure bill.

Those handful of GOP senators include Shelly Capito (R-WV), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and they've been eagerly portrayed in the press as middle-of-the-road deal-makers in search of bipartisan compromise. Slight problem, there's nothing "moderate" about these Republicans, all of whom were Trump loyalists for four years and served as his lapdogs in the Senate. Also, the comically small infrastructure "compromise" they offered up last week was deeply unserious.

This kind of misleading coverage has been a long-running staple of the Beltway media, which loves the idea of "moderate" Republicans stepping forward, in part because journalists have been ceaselessly harping on the idea that all legislation in the Biden era needs to be bipartisan because the Democrat had promised to "unite" the country during the campaign. Also, because the press embraces the narrative that there's a group of thoughtful centrists at the heart of today's GOP — pragmatic do-gooders, happy to occupy the middle ground.

The media bar is set so low for Republicans that apparently the simple act of being willing to discuss a pressing piece of lawmaking with a Democratic White House makes GOP senators "moderates." But are the Republicans actually "moderates"? Do they hold a worldview that places them in the middle of the political spectrum, and do they often work with both sides of the aisle?

No, no, and no. In fact, it's not even close. The so-called moderates spent the last four years voting with Trump 80 and 90 percent of the time. There's nothing centrist about their views, not when they were in bed with the most radical player in modern American politics. Still, the press loves to tell a pleasing tale about Republicans.

Just look at how the press treated Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) when he announced in February that he's retiring from the Senate. A Republican who served as a reliable rubber stamp during four years of Trump insanity, voting with the White House nearly 90 percent of the time, Portman was lauded in the press at the time of his retirement announcement as being "pragmatic," "serious," and a man who privately bristled at Trump's dangerous behavior.

Yet just days after announcing his looming retirement, and without facing the political pressures of running for re-election, Portman voted to acquit Trump of inciting a deadly insurrectionist mob at the U.S. Capitol, because he said the Senate impeachment trial was "unconstitutional." (It clearly was not.) So that's how "moderate" Rob Portman actually is.

Speaking of impeachment, during Trump's first Senate trial, the New York Times tried to present Rep. Peter King (R-NY), as a "moderate" while he ferociously defended Trump's attempt to help a foreign country interfere with a U.S. election.

If the current infrastructure "compromise" looks familiar, it's because we just saw this same off-base coverage surrounding the Covid relief bill. When ten Republican senators reached out to the Biden White House this winter to discuss a possible compromise on the Democrats' proposed $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, the media quickly identified the players as "moderates," and pushed the idea about a possible bipartisan deal. The Associated Press singled out Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) as a key "moderate" who hoped for a bipartisan deal — Katko sided with Trump eight out of ten times in the House.

Over the winter, the Times stressed that, "Moderate Republicans in competitive districts are navigating a careful balance in addressing the coronavirus crisis, eager to put some distance between themselves and a president whose response has been criticized." That's simply not true — not one Republican member of the House voted for Covid relief.

And the "compromise" they offered was laughable, just like the recent GOP "compromise" proposal on infrastructure was laughable. On Covid, the so-called moderates backed a $600 billion relief package, compared to the $1.9 trillion pandemic bill Biden signed into the law. Being the party out of power and urging the president to strip away 70 percent of his Covid and infrastructure bills simply did not represent a sincere negotiating position. And that's why Biden ignores Republican offers. (On infrastructure, Biden wants to spend $2.3 trillion; Republicans are backing a $568 billion proposal.)

But for news consumers, the story presented by the media is that there's an honest back-and-forth negotiation going on, because "moderates" have offered a "compromise." The press constantly plays along with the charade. Weeks ago, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) signaled Republicans would support a comically small $800 billion infrastructure plan, compared to the $2.3 trillion one Biden supports. Yet the Wall Street Journal, among many, treated the offer as being legitimate, claiming the minuscule counter-proposal underscored the "GOP interest in a bipartisan fix for the nation's aging roads and patchy broadband service," and that "Republicans are seeking a compromise on infrastructure."

Spoiler: They're not. A serious, GOP counter-proposal for Biden's $2.3 trillion proposal would be in the $1.6 billion range.

This media trend isn't new. When Jeb Bush ran for president in 2016 and was a contender before the arrival of Trump in the GOP primary field, the campaign press worked overtime positioning him as a "moderate" — a pragmatic label Bush embraced as he eyed a general election against a Democrat. Yet when he served as governor of Florida, the Sunshine State became one of the nation's most pro-gun states, with a variety of laws that lessened restrictions on ownership. After leaving office, Bush remained a far-right politician regarding taxes, climate change, abortion, repealing Obamacare (it's "clearly a job killer"), civil rights, right-to-die, gun control, relations with Cuba, and legalizing marijuana.

Why on earth was the press touting him as a "moderate" in 2016? Same reason they're scrambling today to describe some Republicans who voted with Trump 95 percent of the time as "moderates." In the hands of the Beltway press, it's become a meaningless compliment.

‘You Voted Against It’ Trends As Republicans Claim Credit For Biden Relief

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Some Republican members of the House and Senate are trying to take credit for elements of the American Rescue Act after refusing to support the bill, prompting social media users to remind them: "YOU VOTED AGAINST IT!"

That phrase trended on Twitter Sunday after at least four Republican congresspeople tried to convince their constituents they played a role in the broadly-backed $1.9 trillion stimulus package. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Thursday. No Republican in either the House or Senate supported the bill.

On Friday, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) took to Twitter to "announce that the Biden Administration has just implemented my bipartisan COVID relief bill." Despite insisting she was "proud" that her "bipartisan legislation has officially become SBA policy," Salazar failed to mention that she, herself, voted against the bill.

Here are some reactions to Salazar's post:


Salazar isn't alone. As previously reported by AlterNet, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on Wednesday

tweeted his approval for a provision in the bill that grants $28.6 billion to independent restaurant operators — despite voting against the legislation. That tweet immediately garnered criticism from social media users:

Another Republican catching flak for her comments on the popular legislation is Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who called the stimulus checks "money that you and your fellow countrymen already paid into the system" (duh).

We honestly aren't going to waste time talking about Boebert, save a series of reactions that really hone in on how disingenuous her tweet was:

And finally, we have Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who released a statement accompanying his "no" vote that can only be described as walking a tightrope:

"Today, I'm glad to know my constituents will be receiving an additional relief payment and funding to help improve their access to vaccines, PPE, and unemployment insurance.



I fully support getting assistance to Americans to help keep food on their tables and to help those who are struggling. I fully support continued funding for emergency essentials like vaccines, COVID testing, PPE, school reopening resources, unemployment insurance, and research. And I'll continue to work with my colleagues in the House to ensure the American people have what they need to fight through this pandemic."

Unsurprisingly, Kinzinger's statement didn't go over well:

So there you have it, folks. Republicans are trying to take credit for a bill not a single one of them voted for, while simultaneous railing against provisions that were also included in former President Donald Trump's bills, which they did vote for. It's almost like these people don't actually care about helping us!

On Twitter, Sen. Wicker Takes Credit For Rescue Plan He Opposed

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for President Joe Biden's coronavirus relief bill that provides more aid to struggling Americans.

Yet already, at least one GOP lawmaker is trying to take credit for a piece of the legislation — even though he voted against the bill at the end of the day.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) bragged on Wednesday, shortly after the bill passed, that he helped get billions in relief to help restaurants that have had their businesses upended during the pandemic.

"One bright spot from this week's budget package is the $28.6 billion in targeted support for restaurants that have been hit hard by the pandemic," Wicker tweeted, along with a video of himself praising the part of the bill that gives aid to restaurants. "[Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)] and my RESTAURANTS Act was the first amendment added to the package."

However, just days earlier on March 6 — when the Senate passed the relief bill — Wicker slammed the legislation.

"President Biden and Congressional Democrats have billed this reckless spending spree as COVID-19 relief, but in reality it has little to do with ending the pandemic," Wicker said in a statement explaining his vote against the bill. "The bill is full of unnecessary spending that will overheat the economy at a time when infections are dropping nationwide. It is no surprise that this bill has not earned a single Republican vote. This is no way to govern, and I strongly oppose this legislation."

He went on to say in his statement that he opposed the bill because "less than 10 percent of the provisions in the legislation would address the immediate COVID crisis."

That criticism does not line up with his praise of the bill's billions in help for restaurants, which are not part of the "immediate COVID crisis."

Wicker's decision to praise a provision in the bill, even though he ultimately voted against it, is in contrast to his GOP colleagues, who are trying to vilify the legislation with scare tactics and outright lies about what it does.

For example, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said that the bill sends "checks to illegal immigrants." That's a lie, as only those with social security numbers will receive the $1,400 direct payments that the bill authorized.

Republicans are also calling the bill too expensive, saying it adds too much to the national debt.

The GOP's attacks, however, are not resonating with voters, as polling shows the bill is overwhelmingly popular.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll published Wednesday found 75 percent of voters support the legislation — including 59 percent of Republicans. That's virtually unchanged from a Politico/Morning Consult poll from one week earlier, that found 77 percent supported the bill, including an identical 59 percent of Republicans.

What's more, voters do not agree that the bill is too expensive, with the Politico/Morning Consult survey from Wednesday showing that just 21 percent of voters say the bill "offers too much support."

Democrats, for their part, are planning to hammer Republicans for voting against the bill — and are already running ads against vulnerable GOP lawmakers up for reelection in 2022 attacking them for opposing popular provisions in the legislation.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.