Americans Overwhelmingly Support The American Rescue Plan Because Families Still Need Relief From The COVID Pandemic – But Republicans Say They Just Don’t Know What’s Good For Them

March 1, 2021

In the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the worst public health crisis in a hundred years, Republicans say Democrats want to spend too much to confront the pandemic and insist that it is time to do less. This is not a surprise – Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spent much of last year insisting that a significant number of Republican Senators “think we’ve done enough” to combat this historic crisis. They were wrong then and they are wrong now – that is why 76% of the American people, business leaders, educators, local leaders, and economists across the political spectrum support the American Rescue Plan – and that’s why Senate Democrats will pass it.

Americans Overwhelmingly Support THE $1.9 TRILLION AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN, INCLUDING Another Round of Direct Payments

Morning Consult:  “While Republicans in Congress have balked at the overall price tag for Biden’s proposed package, new Morning Consult/Politico polling shows that the public — including Republican voters — overwhelmingly supports the legislation. In the poll, which was conducted Feb. 19-22 among 2,013 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points, 76 percent said they back the stimulus package, including 52 percent who said they ‘strongly’ support the bill. Only 17 percent of voters said they oppose it.” [Morning Consult, 2/24/21]

Quinnipiac University:  “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.” [Quinnipiac University, 2/3/21]

Yahoo News:  “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).” [Yahoo News, 2/1/21]

But Republicans Who Supported The $1.9 Trillion Tax Law That Overwhelmingly Benefitted the Wealthiest Few AND BIG CORPORATIONS Oppose It

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA):  “In particular, sending another $1,400 to children, the deceased, and tens of millions of workers who haven’t missed a paycheck, like federal and state employees, is senseless and will likely slow down a recovery in employment.” [The Hill, 1/15/21]

Sen. John Thune (R-SD):  “It's $1.9 trillion that we don't have. It's borrowed money and it's going to be spent in a lot of ways that frankly have nothing to do with the emergency at hand.” [Press Conference, 2/23/21]

EconomiSts and Business Leaders Say “Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan”

160 Business Leaders:  “Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery. Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan… The American Rescue Plan provides a framework for coordinated public-private efforts to overcome COVID-19 and to move forward with a new era of inclusive growth.” [Letter to Congressional Leaders, 2/24/21]

More Than 320 Small Business Leaders:  “The American Rescue Plan meets the urgency of the moment and takes the steps necessary to save small businesses struggling during these difficult times.” [Invest in America and Small Business for America’s Future Letter to Congressional Leaders, 2/23/21]

Small Business for America’s Future:  “69% of small business owners — including 46% of Republican business owners and 61% of independent small business owners — support the American Rescue Plan. A majority (56%) of small business owners said that Democrats in Congress should pass a larger relief bill as soon as possible, even if it doesn’t have support from Republicans in Congress — including 52% of independents and 23% of Republicans.” [Small Business for America’s Future, 2/23/21]

More Than 120 Economists:  “That’s why it’s critical for Congress to immediately pass a new coronavirus relief package that will provide additional assistance to families and businesses struggling through a hard winter, and to provide the economic boost required to promote growth and prosperity. This includes substantial unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, help for struggling renters and homeowners, and significant state and local aid that will pay for essential workers, as laid out by the Biden administration’s robust rescue package.” [Letter to Congress, 1/28/21]

Reuters:  Biden's rescue plan will give U.S. economy significant boost: Reuters poll. “In response to an additional question, over 90%, or 42 of 46 economists, said the planned fiscal stimulus would boost the economy significantly.” [Reuters, 1/22/21]

Alan Blinder, Former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under President Clinton, and R. Glenn Hubbard, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush:  “Frankly, the two of us are not worried about the government providing substantial fiscal support, given the state of the economy. And with the Federal Reserve nearly out of ammunition, fiscal policy must take the lead. There are good reasons for running large deficits now — as long as the spending is well-targeted.” [Washington Post Op-ed, 1/27/21]

Kevin Hassett, Former Economic Adviser to Former President Trump:  “The former Trump administration official fears that without more aid from Washington, the worsening pandemic will cause the US economy to suffer a repeat of the first quarter of last year, when GDP shrank by 5%. ‘There are so many businesses treading water, barely hanging on. Now they are getting hit by another shock,’ said Hassett, who served as Trump's top economic adviser from 2017 to 2019 before returning in a voluntary role in March of last year. ‘You could end up in a negative spiral for the economy.’ […] For his part, Hassett said that there may be elements of the Biden package he likes more than others, but broadly speaking he's ‘absolutely’ in favor of the plan. ‘We made it through last year without a total, utter collapse of GDP because of extremely aggressive stimulus,’ said Hassett, who served as a CNN commentator last year.” [CNN Business, 1/22/21]

But RepublicanS Say It Is Just Too Aggressive a Response to the Pandemic

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA):  “The last thing we need is a massive multi trillion dollar universal spending bill.” [Senate Banking Committee, 2/23/21]

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):  “Unfortunately this bill is too costly, too corrupt, and too liberal.” [Press Conference, 2/24/21]

Teachers, Parents, and Superintendents Say Our Schools Need More Money to Reopen Safely

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President:  “Our country is crying out for a leader prepared to truly fight COVID-19 and help us recover, and this package shows the Biden administration is ready to hit the ground running.” [Press Release, 1/14/21]

Becky Pringle, NEA President:  “We applaud President-elect Biden’s plan to deliver immediate relief for our students and working families, making investments to help build back better, stronger, and more equitable communities.” [Press Release, 1/14/21]

But Republican Senators Say they Don’t Need the Money

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL):  “Well, last year, Congress allocated $68 billion for K-12 education and approximately $4 billion of it has been spent. So, it clearly is not waiting for money.” [Press Conference, 2/23/21]

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA):  “Through our first five coronavirus bills, we have appropriated between $70 billion and $80 billion to our public schools to get them back open. Our public schools have spent $5 billion out of 70 to 80--I think it is $70 billion. So it is not a matter of money.” [Floor Remarks, 2/24/21]

LOCAL OFFICIALS ACROSS THE COUNTRY Say They Need More Support To Rebuild from the Pandemic

U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and National Association of Counties:  “The Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan includes $350 billion in direct flexible assistance to state and local governments. If Congress fails to deliver on this critical aid, the American people will feel it for years. Failure means more jobs lost, continued disruption to essential services and cities and counties unable to support the economic recovery we all need. Congress must pass the Biden Administration’s American rescue plan with direct, flexible fiscal assistance to cities and counties.” [Press Release, 1/28/21]

More Than 400 Mayors:  “The $350 billion in direct relief to state and local governments included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan would allow cities to preserve critical public sector jobs and help drive our economic recovery. Providing direct, flexible aid to cities is the most efficient and immediate way to help families and their communities who have been suffering for far too long.” [U.S. Conference of Mayors Letter to Congressional Leaders, 1/29/21]

More Than 80 Texas Mayors:  “As Texas combats the third and largest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we once again write to request that Congress provide direct and flexible fiscal assistance to local governments of all sizes. Texas cities need help to continue to address the pandemic and its economic and social impacts and to weather budget shortfalls that we face through no fault of our own.” [Letter to Texas Congressional Delegation, 2/4/21]

St. Petersburg, FL Mayor Rick Kriseman (D-FL) and Miami, FL Mayor Francis Suarez (R-FL):  “Finally, the president’s American Rescue Plan would provide the needed funding for states and cities — like St. Petersburg and Miami — that we need just to be able to keep our police officers, firefighters, and other first responders on payroll.” [Tampa Bay Times Op-ed, 2/3/21]

Miami, FL Mayor Francis Suarez (R-FL):  “’I have great hope that we can pass this legislation to benefit not only Miami residents but all of the residents of the United States,’ Suarez, who is Cuban American, said in Spanish from the briefing room lectern… ‘The people of our city and of America are still hurting,’ Suarez said. ‘We need this assistance to get through until the vaccine has gained wide acceptance.’” [Miami Herald, 2/12/21]

Arlington, TX Mayor Jeff Williams (R-TX):  “’We’re hopeful we’ll get the assistance, because it’s the right thing to do,’ Williams said. ‘This isn’t a red or blue issue. This is an American issue.’” [Washington Post, 2/15/21]

Greensboro, NC Mayor Nancy Vaughan (D-NC) and High Point, NC Mayor Jay Wagner (R-NC):  “The American Rescue Plan will give our cities the resources we need to fund our essential services — such as keeping our police and firefighters on the job. It’ll fund a vaccination program of the scope we need to end this pandemic. It’ll provide economic relief to North Carolinians facing economic desperation — through $1,400 checks, extended unemployment insurance benefits, rental and utility assistance, affordable child care, and emergency food and nutrition assistance — the kind of help we know can make a difference.” [Greensboro News and Record Op-ed, 2/13/21]

Alan Blinder, Former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under President Clinton, and R. Glenn Hubbard, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush:  “Some Republicans are wary of sending more federal assistance to state and local governments. But they, not the federal government, are on the front lines in the war against covid, waging expensive campaigns while wrestling with revenue shortfalls and balanced-budget requirements. One result is more than 1 million layoffs of state and local government workers — so far. Without federal aid, there will be many more layoffs, including of critically needed personnel.” [Washington Post Op-ed, 1/27/21]

But Republican Senators Say They Know Better

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Then there’s the $350 billion bailout for state and local governments, many of whom have already seen revenues and receipts rebound. It’s several multiples of any sober estimate of actual need.” [Floor Remarks, 2/24/21]

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL):  “As more and more data makes clear, this bailout is nothing more than a liberal payback to governors who helped elect them.” [Press Release, 2/10/21]

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