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Bipartisan Biden to America's rescue

Bipartisan Biden to America's rescue

If there is one thing we know about this pandemic it’s that we all have felt its effects over the past year. From the millions infected and hundreds of thousands who lost their lives, to the economic strain that has touched all of us in some fashion, COVID-19 has stretched Americans to the breaking point. 

Of course, although numbers tell us only part of the story, here’s a little refresher: 

  • Small business revenue is down 20 percent since January 2020, according to Brookings Institution.

  • Real unemployment quadrupled between January and April 2020.

In other words, we’re all suffering and, if we don’t do something fast, it’s going to get worse.

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When President BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE released his American Rescue Plan last month, there were some haters and doubters, as there usually are. But there was a need to act, and that need today has become even greater. 

Now, Republicans on Capitol Hill can spend days arguing about how big the relief package should be. They can talk all they want about deficits and debt. But I’d remind them that they didn’t seem to care about balanced budgets under President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE — in fact, GOP leaders  increased the national debt by nearly $7.8 trillion under Trump. It looks like their principle is: “Deficits for me, but not for thee.” So, that pearl-clutching rings a little hollow now, particularly since the GOP funneled money primarily to the wealthy with the Trump tax cuts.  

On the other hand, Biden’s plan would be a helping hand to the rest of us during this national crisis. It seems Biden has adopted the line we use in my neighborhood: “Go big or go home.” 

So, Democrats in Congress should remember that elections have consequences and start running the plays we voters drew up during the 2020 election. That’s what the American people are expecting them to do.

I love so many things about the American Rescue Plan, including the name. From direct payments for families to protecting workers from unsafe conditions, to supporting veterans and to feeding 29 million Americans, this plan gives hope and security to a nation that badly needs both.

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But what I love the most is the bipartisan support it has gained outside of Washington. I love the fact that most Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — support the plan. In fact, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, “Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the Biden administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus relief bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic, as 68 percent say they support it and 24 percent oppose it.”

And that support likely will continue to grow. As West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice said, “We need to go big or not go. … If we waste some money, but our nation recovers, so what.”

Mayors Rick Kriseman and Francis SuarezFrancis SuarezBipartisan Biden to America's rescue Miami Mayor proposes resolution offering to pay employees in bitcoin GOP Miami mayor hits DeSantis over lack of COVID-19 restrictions MORE — a Democrat in St. Petersburg and a Republican in Miami, respectively — said they need Biden’s American Rescue Plan “to save our communities.”

In fact, according to Bloomberg’s Conor Sen, Biden’s plan is more popular among Republicans than Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  We need a voting rights workaround Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.). Quoting the Quinnipiac poll, he tweeted: “Among Republicans, the $1.9 fiscal package is more popular (37%-47%) than Mitch McConnell is (31%-51%).”

Whether we’re talking about everyday Americans, or whether we’re focused on constituency groups, or even just elected officials, the plan enjoys bipartisan support. The only group that appears not to be on board, so far, are Republicans in Congress.

I am proud that Biden stepped up to lead right away. I’m proud that this plan would benefit all Americans, not just one political party or a special interest group. And I am most proud that this president is willing to work across the aisle to get things done.

That’s what Biden promised to do and, with a Monmouth poll reporting that 71 percent of Americans want congressional Republicans to work with the president, it looks like bipartisanship is what the people want, too.

Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.