Voters overwhelmingly back Biden's infrastructure plans as Senate GOP obstructs them

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A new poll found 66% of registered voters support the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

A day after Senate Republicans blocked debate on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, a new poll shows about two-thirds of American voters back the framework.

On Thursday, Navigator Research released a survey of 1,000 registered voters, finding 66% supported the plan — agreed upon in June by President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators — which would invest $579 billion in transportation, broadband, and water system infrastructure. That framework was backed by 86% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and a 46% plurality of Republicans.

Although 11 Republican senators agreed on the outlines of a deal in June, every single one of them — and the entire GOP caucus — voted on Wednesday to filibuster a motion to start debate on the bill. Because the motion required a three-fifths supermajority vote, the Democratic majority was stymied in its attempt to even take the plan up for consideration. Attempts to salvage an agreement are ongoing.

So far, Republicans have been unable to reach an agreement on how to pay for the plan. A key funding source in their original framework — expanding Internal Revenue Service enforcement to crack down on rich tax dodgers who underpay what they owe — had to be abandoned due to pushback from GOP senators who did not want to give more money to the understaffed agency.

But the Navigator poll showed that this approach is also quite popular.

Asked if they "support or oppose increasing funding for the IRS by $80 billion to crack down on wealthy tax cheats" — an increase that is double the $40 billion in the original bipartisan agreement — 61% of respondents said they supported the idea. Just 25% were opposed. Democrats backed it 80%-8%, and independents supported it 55%-26%. Republicans were almost evenly split, 42% for, 44% against.

When told that such an investment "could bring in up to $700 billion in tax revenue over the next decade," support increased to 66%-21% overall — 85%-7% among Democrats, and 60%-20% among independents. Even a plurality of Republicans backed the idea, 46%-36%.

Democratic lawmakers and the president are pushing to fund some of the policies that were forced out of the bipartisan infrastructure plan through separate legislation.

Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — passed in March without a single Republican vote — already contained a major 2021 expansion of the child tax credit. Thanks to those provisions, 92% of families with children will receive some savings. For millions of families, it also meant monthly payments, beginning on July 15.

Biden proposed an extension in his American Families Plan — much of which is expected to be included in a Democratic "human infrastructure" bill. But with unanimous GOP opposition, it would likely have to be passed through the budget reconciliation process, or by simple majority, without any GOP votes.

The poll found the child tax credit is supported by 56% of voters and opposed by 30%.

When told that "more than 90% of U.S. households with children are eligible" to receive the credit, overall support climbed to 63% to 28%. That included 82%-13% Democratic support and 61%-26% independent support. Republicans barely opposed it, 44%-45%.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.