But thanks to congressional Democrats, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is headed to President Joe Biden's desk.
Without a single Republican vote in support of it, Congress finalized passage of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Wednesday. It will deliver $1,400 checks to most Americans, tax cuts for middle- and lower-income families, and hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for school reopening, unemployment insurance, and efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
The House voted 220 to 211 to approve the bill. The Senate passed identical legislation on Saturday by a vote of 50 to 49. Not a single Republican voted for the bill at any stage of the process.
Only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted no.
Despite the unanimous opposition from congressional Republicans, the legislation is actually quite popular — even among many in the GOP base.
A CNN poll published Wednesday showed 61% of American adults support the bill.
A Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday found 70% of Americans support the $1.9 trillion package compared to just 28% who oppose. Even 41% of Republicans said they backed the bill.
Most Americans will soon receive $1,400 relief checks mandated in the legislation, a proposal passed by the Democratic House of Representatives in December, but blocked by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Americans will also receive an average cut of $3,040 in their 2021 taxes, more than most people saved annually under the GOP's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The legislation also will provide unemployment assistance for millions of people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic; $350 billion to help state, local, territorial, and tribal governments; more than $125 billion to help schools more safely return to in-person learning; and tens of billions of dollars for coronavirus vaccination and testing.
Congressional Republicans have been trying to reframe their party as more populist and pro-worker in recent weeks. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a Feb. 8 Punchbowl News interview, said that the "uniqueness of this party today is we're the workers' party, we're the American workers' party."
"The Republican Party is not just the party of country clubs, the Republican Party is the party of steel workers, construction workers, pipeline workers, police officers, firefighters, waiters and waitresses," tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Feb. 26.
But given the chance to provide billions of dollars to help those workers, everyone in the House and Senate GOP opted not to. Instead, they decried the bill as partisan, expensive, not targeted to their priorities, no longer needed, and too "progressive."
Their efforts to blame the lack of bipartisan support for the bill on Biden were also not effective. A Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday revealed that 57% of Americans believe the president engaged with Republicans in good faith, while 55% say Republicans did not do the same with Democrats.
Democrats are already working to make sure voters hold GOP lawmakers accountable for their opposition to the popular bill in the 2022 midterm elections.
The legislation now goes to Biden, who is expected to sign it as soon as possible.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.