Republican leaders are predicting a big 'boom,' but they don't want Joe Biden to get any praise for it.
After failing to stop the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell now hopes no one will notice when it helps stimulate the struggling economy.
"The economy's coming back. People are getting vaccine. We're on the way out of this. We're about to have a boom," McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Wednesday. "And if we do have a boom, it will have absolutely nothing to do with this $1.9 trillion."
"The American people already built a parade that's been marching toward victory. Democrats just want to sprint to the front of that parade and claim credit," he said on Thursday in a Senate speech. "2021 is set to be an historic comeback year. Not because of far-left legislation that was passed after the tide had already turned. But because of the resilience of the American people."
His House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, made similar comments on Wednesday, predicting in a floor speech, "I believe the American people are going to see an American comeback this year. But it won't be because of this liberal bill. This bill won’t speed up our return to normal — it will only increase financial risks and burden future generations with unnecessary debt."
The legislation passed both in the House and Senate this week without a single Republican vote. It will provide $1,400 relief checks to most Americans, an average tax cut of more than $3,000, increased unemployment benefits, $350 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, more than $125 billion to help schools more safely return to in-person instruction, and tens of billions of dollars for coronavirus testing and vaccination.
While the GOP leaders are trying to suggest this will do nothing to help the economy, experts strongly disagree.
Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy predicts that the relief bill "could cut child poverty by more than half in 2021" and will reduce overall poverty by a third. It estimates that 13,100,000 fewer people will be under the poverty line as the result of the bill — 5.7 million of them under the age of 18.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has more than doubled its prediction of 2021 economic growth since December, based in part on the increased federal spending, according to NPR.
"There's no question. Everyone agrees it will stimulate the economy," Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, told the network on Wednesday, noting that the only unknown is whether it might even "stimulate the economy too much."
The legislation has already had a significant impact on jobs, even before Biden's signing of the bill.
After the bill passed on Wednesday, American Airlines withdrew 13,000 planned furloughs and United Airlines canceled plans to furlough 14,000 employees. In a letter to staff, American Airlines executives specifically cited the bill for the decision to "tear" up the furlough notices.
While McConnell and McCarthy tried to downplay the legislation, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) tried to take credit for one of its provisions on Wednesday — hours after voting against the bill.
"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," he tweeted, praising the bill's restaurant aid section. "[Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)] and my RESTAURANTS Act was the first amendment added to the package."
Despite unanimous congressional GOP opposition to the legislation, polls show it remains widely popular — even among Republican voters.
On Wednesday, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found 75% of all registered voters back the $1.9 trillion package, while just 18% opposed. Among Republicans, 59% supported the bill and 35% were against it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.