GOP efforts to take credit for COVID relief are failing badly

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A new poll finds that voters aren't buying what Republicans are selling.

Since the passage of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, Republicans have attempted to take credit for the legislation — despite the fact that not a single one voted for it.

Now, a new poll shows these efforts have overwhelmingly failed.

A poll this week by Invest in America shows that voters credit Biden and Democrats for the relief provided by the American Rescue Plan by a 49-point margin, with 48% of Republicans saying the same.

Other recent polls by Vox and Data for Progress show that 62% of voters were in favor of passing the expansive American Rescue Plan when contrasted with a smaller, more targeted relief proposed by GOP lawmakers — including nearly 50% of Republicans.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) made waves earlier this month when he proceeded to publicly take credit for a provision in the American Rescue Plan — relief for restaurant operators impacted by the pandemic — despite voting against the legislation.

He tweeted March 10, "Independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief. This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll."

While Wicker, alongside Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, did propose to amend the COVID relief plan with funding for restaurateurs, Wicker ultimately voted against the entire package.

Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL) also came under fire for a misleading tweet on the matter.

"So proud to announce that the Biden Administration has just implemented my bipartisan COVID relief bill as part of @SBAgov policy!" she wrote on March 12.

While some interpreted her statement to mean that she was referring to the American Rescue Plan and taking credit for passing it, the deputy of the director of the National Economic Council explained on Twitter that the policy to which she was referring was a separate one introduced by Salazar in the House.

"I’ve seen some confusion on this. On Friday — separate from the American Rescue bill — SBA announced it was letting 3M+ businesses defer EIDL loan payments for an extra year," Bharat Ramamurti tweeted.

In recent months, Republicans have tried to praise themselves for passing COVID relief, despite months of stonewalling and refusing to grant Americans more assistance as they struggled through the pandemic, suggesting the blame was on Democrats, even as a Democratic bill passed by the House in May 2020 languished in the Senate, untouched.

It's not the first time Republicans have attempted to take credit for a stimulus package they didn't support. In 2009, 114 Republican lawmakers obstructed the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, former President Barack Obama's stimulus package during the economic recession of 2008 — then bragged about its benefits to their constituents.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was quick to call out Republicans' semantics on social media. "You know how in a group project there is always a handful of students who didn't contribute, but they still take credit at the end. That's the GOP after the passage of the American Rescue Plan," she tweeted on March 14.

Meanwhile, the American Rescue Plan has enjoyed such widespread popularity that many Republicans didn't even know their own party was not in support of it, or that zero GOP lawmakers had voted for it. One recent poll found that close to one-third of Republican likely voters — 31% — thought the bill enjoyed bipartisan support and that the GOP had backed it.

Write-in responses from the new Invest in America poll show that Republicans are, on the whole, pleased with the package and relieved to receive stimulus checks.

"It's allowing me to fix a place for myself and my children to live in forever," wrote one New York Republican.

"It made my life better," a Colorado Republican wrote separately.

But Democrats have warned of continuing attempts on the part of the right to hijack the legislation and claim it as their own.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) said on the House floor this month, "What we are all concerned about on our side is that the Republicans are all going to vote against this, and then they’re going to show up at every ribbon cutting, and at every project funded out of this bill, and they’re going to pump up their chests and take credit for all of these great benefits that are coming to their citizens.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.