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The American Independent

Yes, Americans want the climate protections in Biden's infrastructure plan

A new poll found 76% of all voters and 57% of Republicans believe investment in clean energy is important.

By Josh Israel - April 22, 2021
Joe Biden

A new poll shows that President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan is popular. When voters are told about its provisions aimed at combating climate change, they like the plan even more.

Senate Republicans are pushing to strip that spending out of the American Jobs Plan entirely.

A Data for Progress poll released Thursday found 68% of voters support Biden’s plan when told it is a “$2.3 trillion investment to create millions of new good-paying union jobs in clean energy modernizing American roads and bridges, electricity grid, drinking water systems, public transit, home and schools,” including 44% of Republican voters.

When told specifics of the plan, including its investments in “new energy innovation,” “reducing pollution and improving energy efficiency in homes, schools and childcare centers,” and “cleaning up abandoned mines and abandoned oil and gas wells,” support for the bill rises to 71% overall and 48% of Republicans.

The poll also found that 76% of all voters and 57% of Republicans believe it is “very” or “somewhat” important for the plan to fund investments “that will help America combat climate change and create a thriving clean energy economy.”

But despite the bill’s strong popularity, Republicans in Congress have vowed to unanimously oppose it, objecting to both the corporate tax increases that would fund the new investments and its inclusion of human and climate infrastructure.

For weeks, GOP lawmakers have railed especially hard against the green energy and environmental provisions, calling them “socialism,” framing them as not really counting as infrastructure, and falsely claiming that the package is really just the Green New Deal in disguise. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a high-ranking member of the Senate GOP leadership, warned on April 13 that it would even cause a “dangerous” move toward the use of recyclable lunch trays in schools.

On Thursday, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and a group of her GOP colleagues announced a five-year, $568 billion infrastructure alternative. Their plan removes virtually all of the climate-related spending as well as the human infrastructure components like child care. Despite removing about three-quarters of the spending Biden deems necessary, Capito called it a “robust package.”

The GOP plan would be funded in part by penalizing with new fees those drivers who use electric or hydrogen-fueled vehicles. A fact sheet released by the Sierra Club notes that a fee would make it more expensive to operate a cleaner vehicle than to drive a gas-powered car, and that at a time when the number of Americans choosing cleaner cars is tiny but growing.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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