Budowsky: Pass popular Biden’s popular COVID-19 bill
In the Real Clear Politics summary of all polling, as of Tuesday morning, President Biden’s favorable rating was 54.7 percent while his unfavorable rating was only 36.5 percent. Comparable favorable and unfavorable ratings for former President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) no doubt keep many prominent Republicans up late at night, worried for good reason.
The most important policy issue in America right now is that the highly popular Biden is now championing a highly popular COVID-19 health and economic relief bill, currently valued at $1.9 trillion. In most polling this urgently needed bill is favored by about two-thirds of the American people.
Voters know that Biden is very sincere calling for bipartisanship to enact this bill. The politically smart move for Republicans would be offer a good faith proposal to tailor and target the bill, to somewhat but not dramatically lower the cost, while agreeing to keep the core of the bill intact. In this case both parties would share credit with voters.
If Republicans do not make this move, Democrats will pass the bill by majority vote through the reconciliation process. Biden and Democrats would then receive credit for the strong recovery that is surely coming long before the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans will be reduced to economic bystanders while they attack each other, day after day, week after week, in vicious GOP primaries all across the nation.
By contrast: Countless millions of Americans need, and want, $1,400 relief checks targeted to those who need them. Americans need, and want, dramatic new assistance to support far more vaccinations. Americans need, and want, extended unemployment compensation. Americans need, and want, aid for state and local governments to employ police, fire fighters, health care workers, teachers and many others.
Do Republicans want to defund police and fire fighters by refusing to help state and local governments?
Americans need, and want, the millions of jobs this package will save and create. Americans need, and want, help for small business people fighting to survive during the worst pandemic in a century. Americans need, and want, help to make schools safer so children can learn, teachers can teach, and parents can return to work without risking the lives of their children or teachers.
A major reason Biden is light years more popular than Trump is that he is governing with a high professionalism, seriousness of purpose and great goodwill. Make no mistake, there will be a dramatic economic recovery long before the 2022 midterm elections. The COVID-19 bill, which will be mostly enacted one way or the other, reaps support because it deserves support from hard-hit Americans who want and need the support.
Biden is offering Republicans an opportunity to work with him, compromise with him, enact MOST of his bill with some changes Republicans want, and share credit with him and Democrats when the great economic comeback comes well before the midterm elections.
Biden has had a Teflon-like appeal throughout his campaign and early administration. He is likable, and is liked. He is competent, and it shows. He is decent, and it radiates. He is a man of faith, and it shines. He is a family man, to the core. His COVID-19 plan would help workers and small business people who voted for Trump, as well as Biden, and that is true.
A highly popular president is championing a highly popular bill to feed the hungry, give relief checks to the hurting, create jobs for the jobless, lift the children, support the teachers, back the states, vaccinate the people, and lift the spirit and economy of the nation.
Biden has taken the reins and addressed COVID-19 with science and sensitivity, with cases currently declining and vaccinations currently increasing, with a spirit of unity rather than division, as a president who aspires to help all of our people, setting the stage for an American comeback that will lift our people everywhere.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.
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