New poll shows majority of voters still support Build Back Better agenda

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Senate Democrats are still negotiating a version of the climate and caregiving package that can win the whole caucus' support.

A new poll released Tuesday finds that a majority of Americans still support key provisions in President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan.

According to Data for Progress, a progressive polling firm and think tank, 61% of likely voters support passing the $1.75 trillion package "to better fund long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, expand Medicare coverage to include hearing, invest in clean energy, extend tax credits for families with children, and provide subsidies for child care." Just 32% oppose it.

In a polling memo, the group noted that the results of the poll, conducted between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25, are nearly identical to its findings in five prior surveys since the beginning of November.

It also found strong support for each of the major provisions of the version of the package that passed the House of Representatives in November. Long-term care (74%-18%), hearing coverage for Medicare recipients (72%-19%), clean energy and jobs (62%-30%), affordable housing (61%-28%), and paid leave (59%-31%) were among the most popular parts of the plan.

The bill also included an expanded child tax credit for 2022, immigration reforms, lower prescription drug costs, universal pre-K, free child care, and climate protections.

House Democrats passed the legislation on Nov. 19, without a single GOP vote in support.

With just 50 votes in the Senate, plus Vice President Kamala Harris in her role as president of the chamber able to break ties, and unanimous GOP opposition, Senate Democrats have not yet agreed on a version of the bill that all of them support.

Just before the holidays in December, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that he would not back the House version, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to keep working on finding an agreement "until we get something done."

Though Manchin said Tuesday that new negotiations have not yet begun, Axios reported Monday that, according to its sources, the conservative Democrat was open to finding an agreement.

Another poll, released Tuesday by USA Today/Suffolk University, found that most Americans want Congress to do just that. Just 38% of registered voters polled in the final days of 2021 said Biden should abandon the package, while a combined 55% said he should keep trying (34% wanting him to fight for it as is and 21% hoping he scales it back somewhat to get it passed).

Schumer (D-NY) announced Monday that the Senate would spend the next few weeks considering voting rights legislation that is currently being blocked by the GOP minority and that if Republicans do not "change course," he will propose changes to the Senate's filibuster rules.

Schumer and his colleagues reportedly plan to return to Build Back Better after that and hope to pass the bill in the next few months.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.