House GOP's last-ditch attack on COVID relief: It's too 'progressive'

390

The vast majority of Americans back President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

As the House of Representatives prepares to give final approval to President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, Republicans have seized on their closing argument against it: It's "progressive."

On Monday, the official House Republicans Twitter account shared what they framed as admissions from key Democrats that the American Relief Plan was a historic progressive achievement.

The tweet shared quotes from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling the legislation "one of the most progressive pieces of legislation in decades" and White House chief of staff Ron Klain calling it "the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation."

"THIS WAS NEVER ABOUT COVID RELIEF," the House GOP claimed. "It's about ramming through their far-left agenda."

Several House Republicans re-shared their caucus' tweet or seized on the comments as some sort of remarkable admission.

South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman quoted White House press secretary Jen Psaki praising the bill as "the most progressive piece of legislation in history," opining, "At least [she] is admitting what we already know to be true."

"When you say the quiet part out loud," tweeted Alabama Rep. Barry Moore.

The House will likely vote this week to approve the version of the bill that passed the Senate on Saturday. Not a single Republican lawmaker has backed the legislation, which will provide tax cuts for middle- and lower-income families, $1,400 relief checks for most Americans, more than $125 billion to help schools reopen for in-person learning more safely, tens of billions for coronavirus vaccination and testing, and $350 billion in direct aid to state, local, and territorial governments.

Congressional Republicans have already attacked it as too expensive, insufficiently targeted to what they deem to be valid priorities, no longer necessary, and a "Pelosi payoff."

But the public has rallied around the bill, giving it major support in poll after poll.

A Politico/Morning Consult survey in late February found 76% of voters favor the proposal — including 60% of GOP voters.

A Public Policy Polling survey released last week found the legislation to be even more popular than puppies, by a 55% to 23% margin.

The bill also enjoys support from the business community, the Republican governor of West Virginia, and a bipartisan coalition of hundreds of local mayors.

Republicans are now trying to undermine that widespread popularity by spinning progress as some kind of a dirty word, but it's unclear whether voters will be swayed.

A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found 66% of Americans actually have a favorable impression of the term "progressive." It was even more popular than the terms "conservative" (60% favorable) and "libertarian" (55% favorable).

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.