Republicans say Biden's coronavirus relief proposal will lead to disunity. Polls say their argument wrong.
Senate Republicans, who have promised to block a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package proposed by President Joe Biden, say that Democrats' use of budget reconciliation to pass Biden's plan would be a betrayal of Biden's Inauguration Day promise to unify the country.
But a spate of polls released in recent days shows that Biden's coronavirus relief package, as well as the executive orders he signed in his first days in office, have broad support from Americans all along the political spectrum.
A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Monday afternoon found that 74% of American adults support Biden's proposal to provide $2,000 relief checks to Americans.
It found that another 69% support Biden's push for more money to vaccinate the country, and 58% support his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Senate Republicans want less money for vaccines and direct payments, and are against raising the minimum wage. They say for Democrats to pass those items without Republican support would lead to disunity — an assertion not supported by the polling data.
The same poll found a majority of Americans are unified in their support of Biden's other priorities, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement, rejoining the World Health Organization, stopping the separation of immigrant families, and reforming U.S. immigration policies — things that Republicans and Fox News personalities have also bashed the president for.
Meanwhile, a Monmouth University poll conducted between Jan. 21 and Jan. 24 found, "Most Americans (71%) would rather see Republicans in Congress find ways to work together with Biden than to focus on keeping Biden in check (25%). The desire for bipartisan cooperation is higher than it was just after the November election (62%), and includes 41% of Republicans (up from 28% in November) as well as 70% of independents (68%) and 94% of Democrats (92%)."
Biden met on Monday with a group of 10 Republican senators who submitted a much smaller and less generous coronavirus relief counterproposal.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested in an official statement that Biden was not swayed by their arguments: "The President expressed his hope that the group could continue to discuss ways to strengthen the American Rescue Plan as it moves forward, and find areas of common ground — including work on small business support and nutrition programs. He reiterated, however, that he will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response, and will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment."
And in a floor speech on Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the chamber will move forward this week on parliamentary procedures that would allow it to pass Biden's coronavirus relief plan without Republican support.
"Let me be very clear," Schumer said. "We are not going to dilute, to dither, to delay. We are not going to dilute, dither, or delay. The needs of the American people are so demanding. We need to think big. We need to act quickly."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.