Big COVID Relief Bill is Political No-Brainer

Impeachment 2.0 has taken up all of the political oxygen this week, moving President Biden’s COVID relief bill to the sideline temporarily. But a bevy of new information shows that Republican opposition to the $1.9 trillion relief bill is wildly out of touch with the rest of America.

As Paul Waldman explains for The Washington Post:

The first major legislation of Joe Biden’s presidency will be the covid-19 relief bill, which has engendered a good bit of controversy in Washington over its size, whether it sends aid to the right people and whether the process by which it will pass is sufficiently bipartisan. Given that controversy, you might think the matter is contentious among voters, generating argument, discord and eventually hurt feelings among those who don’t wind up getting their way.

But it isn’t. In fact, this bill so far looks to be one of the most popular pieces of major legislation in U.S. history. [Pols emphasis]

That in itself doesn’t prove it’s a good thing — the public sometimes supports bad ideas — but it should give Democrats confidence that the political winds are at their backs no matter what Republicans do or say. It also shows how skewed the view from Washington can sometimes be.

Things that are popular in the United States.

The numbers in support of this claim are pretty hard to dispute. Polling from CBS News shows that 83% of Americans approve passing a big stimulus bill. Quinnipiac University found that 68% of Americans support Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, as do 63% of small business owners.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found similar numbers:

Of all 20 policies covered by the poll, the two most popular were the ones at the center of Biden’s current COVID proposal: $2,000 relief checks (74 percent favor vs. 13 percent oppose) and increased federal funding for vaccination (69 percent favor vs. 17 percent oppose). A full 58 percent of Americans also support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, another key element of Biden’s COVID-19 rescue package. That’s almost twice the share of Americans (31 percent) who oppose a wage hike.

Democrats can (and likely will) pass the full $1.9 trillion plan without support from Republicans…not that the GOP hasn’t tried. As Waldman notes:

It isn’t that Republicans haven’t tried to discredit the bill — they have — but their efforts have been desultory and ineffectual. They’ve complained about its overall size, and that too many people may be helped, and that assistance to state and local governments may flow to places where there are lots of Democrats. But none of those arguments seems to persuade anyone.

As we noted last week, Democrats seem to have learned some important lessons from the last time they controlled Congress and the White House. Republicans can complain all they want about “bipartisanship” and “unity,” but the American people just want some help, and they elected Democrats to get it done.

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  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    and they elected Democrats to get it done.

    Boom.  Not only have Dems. learned from Obama's futile attempt to govern like there were co-equal partners to work with but they know exactly the techniques and excuses that Republicans will use to thwart any help to ordinary (non-rich) people.  The sick and vulnerable can expect a response now.

    Go big and get 'er done.

  2. itlduso says:

    Federal Debt to Exceed Size of US Economy:

    “The federal government’s total debt is expected to exceed the size of the American economy this year, a figure that does not take into account President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package,” the Washington Post reports.

    Maybe a political no-brainer, but just sayin'.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Interest is nil and relief will be directed to those pushed to the bottom of our economic inequities to help them survive and won't touch the caviar budgets for the rich.  Yeah it's a no-brainer if we really want to recover from this pandemic and stabilize your economy.  The obvious next action is to repeal the Trump and Bush tax cuts and start requiring the mega-wealthy to pay their share to provide for an orderly society.  You can't talk about bad deficits without talking about the tax policies that fostered them.  Trump alone run up an astronomical deficit (maybe $8trillion) during an extended period of prosperity.  Just because the motherfucker robbed Fort Knox to bribe his way to re-election, today's situation requires humongous moves to balance the boat and give people relief.  How much does this deficit which you've actually seen in inflation or deflation compared to helping a family pay the cost for burying a loved one who died from COVID?  Damn the Deficit Hawks, Dems. need to get help out to those most in need now.

  3. High Valley Lurker says:

    Biden has been using the Republicans opposition to constantly spin his proposal as ‘big’ and ‘bold’. It is neither. It is a 33% cut from the bill the House had already passed. I believe I’d seen estimates of a $4 trillion stimulus is what the economy needs. Biden is at 50% of this.

    The very fact that Biden is constantly spinning this plan as ‘big’ and ‘bold’ says that at some level Biden knows that he is doing exactly what Obama did and go too small on his stimulus plan, despite every expert saying at this time that it would be better to miss on the high side.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Includes $360 billion for state and local governments to help them plug the big hole that COVID blew in their budgets.  Gilpin County government budget went from $28mil to $21mil and drastically reduced their services.  This bill while inherently imperfect will do a lot.  Besides cash, it gives people hope that their government is working for their benefit so it's a psychological lift as well.  It will be money well spent if it allows schools across the country to open in-person safely and the majority of the population gets vaccinated.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      High Valley Lurker, I’m not certain where you’ve seen estimates of $4 trillion stimulus is needed. 

      The US has passed about $4 trillion — and about $1 trillion has yet to be spent.  The new package proposal is $1.9 trillion.  And there is a growing sense that there will be more federal assistance for the unemployed if there has not been a full recovery in employment rates. Furthermore, there has been a variety of state and local efforts to stimulate the economy this year, including the Polis plan for Colorado. [a billion here, a billion there, and we can think of it as “real money”]

      The only place I’ve seen $4 trillion mentioned for future spending is “Senator Joe Manchin — who occupies one of the crucial pivot points in the U.S. Senate — signaled an openness to the federal government spending up to $4 trillion on infrastructure.”  But that $4 trillion is not pushed as rapid spending for recovery.

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