Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called proposed funding 'unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism.'
More than three-fifths of likely voters want Congress to pass President Joe Biden's spending plans, even if the Democratic majority has to do so without a single Republican vote, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by Data for Progress for Invest in America, which campaigns for public investment in infrastructure, was released Tuesday. It found 62% support for passage of Biden's American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan through the budget reconciliation process, which allows the Senate to pass taxation and spending bills by a simple majority vote.
Such a move is backed by 86% of Democratic voters, 59% of independents, and 36% of Republicans.
"Our polling w/ @DataProgress shows voters don't care about process, they care about results," tweeted Invest in America. "The bipartisan deal is a solid first step — but a majority of voters still support passing the rest of the American Jobs and Families Plans through reconciliation."
Congressional Republicans have tried to block a reconciliation package, objecting to the "partisan" process and saying it amounted to "caving" to the "left-wing base."
Biden proposed the American Jobs Plan in March, recommending a $2.25 trillion investment in bridges, roads, water systems, transit, clean energy, broadband, climate, child care, and caregiving infrastructure. In April, he proposed the American Families Plan, which would invest $1.8 trillion in paid leave, free preschool and community college, and affordable health care.
Not a single Republican in Congress backed either proposal, despite the wide popularity of both with the American public.
Biden and bipartisan group of senators struck a deal on June 24 on $579 billion in new spending on transportation, water, and broadband infrastructure.
Democratic leaders made it clear that in order to pass that agreement, Congress would also have to pass a separate package containing funding for climate and human infrastructure that was removed from the bill during negotiations.
But when Biden suggested that both bills would be necessary, Republicans claimed to be outraged.
"The two top Democrats literally pulled the rug out from under their bipartisan negotiators with these unserious demands before they'd even made it to the White House," complained Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "An expression of bipartisanship, and then an ultimatum on behalf of your left-wing base."
Biden clarified on June 26 that he was not threatening to veto the bipartisan infrastructure plan, but hoped to see both it and the rest of the funding pass in tandem.
Now McConnell (R-KY) is trying to pressure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi into skipping Biden's other priorities, suggesting that insisting on passing them together with the infrastructure bill amounted to holding the latter "hostage over a separate and partisan process."
"Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then President Biden's walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture," McConnell said Monday.
But McConnell has not even backed the bipartisan infrastructure deal and was not involved in the negotiations. Negotiations he did back, between Biden and a GOP group led by West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, broke down in early June after the Republicans refused to offer more than a small fraction of the new infrastructure spending the White House requested.
While McConnell and his colleagues have attacked Biden's proposed investments as unneeded socialism, the Data for Progress poll suggests those arguments are not working: 58% of those surveyed said the nation should invest more "to spur job creation and boost the economy after the coronavirus pandemic," while just 33% said it should wait "over concerns about the economy overheating and inflation."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.