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White House

President Joe Biden

Photo from official @POTUS Twitter

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A day after Senate Republicans blocked debate on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, a new poll shows about two-thirds of American voters back the framework.

On Thursday, Navigator Research released a survey of 1,000 registered voters, finding 66 percent supported the plan — agreed upon in June by President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators — which would invest $579 billion in transportation, broadband, and water system infrastructure. That framework was backed by 86 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and a 46 percent plurality of Republicans.

Although 11 Republican senators agreed on the outlines of a deal in June, every single one of them — and the entire GOP caucus — voted on Wednesday to filibuster a motion to start debate on the bill. Because the motion required a three-fifths supermajority vote, the Democratic majority was stymied in its attempt to even take the plan up for consideration. Attempts to salvage an agreement are ongoing.

So far, Republicans have been unable to reach an agreement on how to pay for the plan. A key funding source in their original framework — expanding Internal Revenue Service enforcement to crack down on rich tax dodgers who underpay what they owe — had to be abandoned due to pushback from GOP senators who did not want to give more money to the understaffed agency.

But the Navigator poll showed that this approach is also quite popular.

Asked if they "support or oppose increasing funding for the IRS by $80 billion to crack down on wealthy tax cheats" — an increase that is double the $40 billion in the original bipartisan agreement — 61 percent of respondents said they supported the idea. Just 25 percent were opposed. Democrats backed it 80 percent --8 percent, and independents supported it 55 percent --26 percent. Republicans were almost evenly split, 42 percent for, 44 percent against.

When told that such an investment "could bring in up to $700 billion in tax revenue over the next decade," support increased to 66 percent --21 percent overall — with 85 percent --7 percent among Democrats, and 60 percent -- 20 percent among independents. Even a plurality of Republicans backed the idea, 46 percent -- 36 percent.

Democratic lawmakers and the president are pushing to fund some of the policies that were forced out of the bipartisan infrastructure plan through separate legislation.

Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — passed in March without a single Republican vote — already contained a major 2021 expansion of the child tax credit. Thanks to those provisions, 92 percent of families with children will receive some savings. For millions of families, it also meant monthly payments, beginning on July 15.

Biden proposed an extension in his American Families Plan — much of which is expected to be included in a Democratic "human infrastructure" bill. But with unanimous GOP opposition, it would likely have to be passed through the budget reconciliation process, or by simple majority, without any GOP votes.

The poll found the child tax credit is supported by 56 percent of voters and opposed by 30 percent.

When told that "more than 90 percent of U.S. households with children are eligible" to receive the credit, overall support climbed to 63 percent to 28 percent. That included 82 percent -- 13 percent Democratic support and 61 percent -- 26 percent independent support. Republicans barely opposed it, 44 percent -- 45 percent.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Sen. Mitch McConnell, top left, former Vice President Pence, top right, and former Attorney General William Barr .

Photos, top right and left, by Gage Skidmore (CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0). Photo, bottom, by the Justice Department (Public Domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

No matter how much a Republican has done for Donald Trump, the former president can easily turn against them if he feels they have let him down in some way — and that includes former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. They all were his targets for an interview featured in Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker's new book, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year.

On March 31, Washington Post reporters Leonnig and Rucker interviewed Trump in person for their book at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida. I Alone Can Fix It is being released half a year into Joe Biden's presidency; it was six months ago, on January 20, that Trump vacated the White House and Biden was sworn into office. Highlights of that interview can be found in a book excerpt published by Vanity Fair.

During the interview, Trump promoted the false and debunked conspiracy theory that he won the 2020 election — which, in fact, he lost by more than 7 million votes. And Trump believes that Pence let him down by not preventing Congress from affirming Biden's Electoral College victory on January 6, the day a violent mob of Trump's supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building.

The ex-president told Leonnig and Rucker, "The greatest fraud ever perpetrated in this country was this last election. It was rigged, and it was stolen. It was both. It was a combination, and Bill Barr didn't do anything about it."

In December 2020, Trump was furious when Barr told the Associated Press that there was no evidence proving the type of widespread voter fraud that Trump was alleging. As much of a Trump loyalist as Barr had been, he acknowledged that Biden was the United States' legitimate president-elect.

Trump told Leonnig and Rucker, "Barr disliked me at the end, in my opinion, and that's why he made the statement about the election, because he did not know. And I like Bill Barr, just so you know. I think he started off as a great patriot, but I don't believe he finished that way."

Similarly, Trump believes that Pence let him down as well. Pence, in early January, stressed that as vice president, he didn't have the authority to reverse the Electoral College results. But as Trump saw it, he wasn't trying hard enough.

At Mar-a-Lago, Trump told Leonnig and Rucker, "Had Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatures, you would have had a different outcome, in my opinion. I think that the vice president of the United States must protect the Constitution of the United States. I don't believe he's just supposed to be a statue who gets these votes from the states and immediately hands them over. If you see fraud, then I believe you have an obligation to do one of a number of things."

On Capitol Hill, Democrats view Sen. Mitch McConnell as a fierce and unyielding partisan who fights them every step of the way. But Trump doesn't agree.

Thanks in part to McConnell, all three of Trump's Supreme Court nominees are now on the High Court: Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Yet Trump believes that McConnell didn't do enough for him. And ironically, Trump holds a grudge against the Senate minority leader for not wanting to abolish the filibuster. Democrats, during the Biden era, have been complaining that the filibuster is preventing them from getting important legislation passed in the Senate — from a voting rights bill to a commission to study the January 6 insurrection.

Trump said of McConnell, "He's a stupid person. I don't think he's smart enough. I tried to convince Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster, to terminate it, so that we would get everything — and he was a knucklehead, and he didn't do it."

Other Republicans Trump ranted against during the March 31 interview ranged from former House Speaker Paul Ryan to Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The former president told Leonnig and Rucker, "Chris has been very disloyal, but that's OK. I helped Chris Christie a lot. He knows that more than anybody, but I helped him a lot. But he's been disloyal."