“This is a real opportunity to redefine what our economic profile will look like – with an aspect of the building part and the benevolent part – and could really be a definition for our party for the next 50 years,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster and advisor to Biden’s 2020 campaign.
Spurred on by the pandemic, Lake said, belief in government as a solution “is here to go on for a while, and I think at least until 2022. But the other question for progressives and Democrats is to know how we solidify this as a permanent vision of what the role of government is rather than [intervening] during a seizure.
Bidenworld’s bet that voters, especially those who have drifted into the party over the past four years, will reward government intervention is diametrically at odds with the strategies adopted by previous Democratic presidents early in their administration. But Biden advisers insist Americans are in no mood to reward politicians for blocking actions that, among other things, help the millions of women who have been kicked out of the workplace as schools close. their doors to in-person learning.
And for Biden, whose first major legislative push was a $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief package, the assumption is that his party and the majority of the country will rally to a plan that both fuels the economy. and restructure it for working families. The second piece of Biden’s infrastructure package will likely invest more in child care, extend the new, expanded child tax credit, and make community college tuition free. The administration is also expected to include universal preschool education provisions and expand the Affordable Care Act grants in its upcoming yet unveiled legislative push.
“Since Reagan, the concept of ‘cut down on government’ has been quite popular with some people,” said Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), A dynamic Member of the State who has focused heavily on issues of government. care. “And yet the truth is that what we’ve found with a global health emergency is that you really need government for some things, and that a lot can be accomplished – not just on the health side, but also a scrap piece of it.
“I think it broadened the way people think about government and what the appropriate role of government should be,” Wild added.
Republicans are not prepared to admit that the era of big government has returned. The party is already trying to target the cost of Biden’s plans while arguing that huge portions of the new administration’s proposals fall outside of traditional infrastructure.
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), Chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, said this week Democrats were trying to fund a “radical left socialist program.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell widely dismissed the infrastructure bill as “yet another round of massive spending with huge tax hikes.”
And former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sneered at the huge federal spending on child and senior care. “Now the ‘care economy’ is infrastructure,” he told ABC “This Week”. “The economy of care. I don’t even know what the care economy is. “
White House officials and their Democratic allies in Congress push back, seeking to frame a debate they say will play a major role mid-term, and which could complicate Republican efforts to bring traditionally GOP voters back into the fold in 2024.
“Whether they want to fight over whether these essential elements of families’ ability to put food on the table and do their jobs is infrastructure or not, it is a fight we welcome,” said Kate. Bedingfield, White House communications manager. director.
Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo) said Biden will have to “hold the line” on spending given the many desires within his party. But he acknowledged that the plan’s tax hikes, which were included as payment provisions for the initial coin, pose a risk.
“The only part that’s dangerous is if the Republicans get ahead of the Democrats in the message, they can portray this as a tax hike,” Cleaver said, suggesting Democrats must be prepared to retort that the taxes in the package d infrastructure does not apply to the majority of Americans.
“It doesn’t impact ordinary people, but the danger, of course, is that people will say, ‘The president is raising your taxes,’” Cleaver said. “Well, most people won’t understand that when they say raise their taxes, they’re only talking about a handful of people who make more money than 200 million Americans together. Republicans have been masters of this kind of message.
The battleground where much of this takes place is likely to be the suburbs. Biden’s 2020 campaign targeted the diversification of communities and the bitterness of Republicans and Independents there with former President Donald Trump. And in turn, suburban voters were decisive in several key states, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. In Peach State, some of the same voting blocs helped Democrats grab surprise second-round Senate victories weeks after Biden’s.
House Democrats have started targeting an initial list of nearly two dozen GOP-controlled districts, whose representatives voted against Biden’s bailout and its direct payments to Americans.
Although the upcoming legislation focuses on taxes, the vulnerability of Republicans lies in the fact that the specific policies incorporated into Biden’s care economy plan remain as popular as they are today and become achievements. crucial for Democrats. A Politico / Morning Consult poll conducted through March 29 found strong majority support among suburban voters for extending the child tax credit (60%); free community college (58 percent); pre-k universal (57 percent) and extension of Obamacare grants (57 percent).
In more than five dozen competitive congressional districts, a recent Hart Research poll commissioned by paid vacation advocates made up of workers, civil rights and other groups found that 67% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats are in favor of legislation giving workers up to 12 weeks. paid leave if they have a serious health problem, are looking after a family member or have a child. Support is fairly uniform across regions and districts.
House Democrats this week pledged to include paid family and medical leave for each worker in the infrastructure package, and advocates are calling on Biden to specifically support a nationwide program that provides 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to workers. workers through direct payments, which they believe could go through fiscal reconciliation.
As the White House did with its nearly $ 2 trillion Covid relief plan, they are already contrasting local Republicans ‘support for paid vacation programs and national Republicans’ opposition in Washington.
Colorado voters passed a measure of paid family and medical leave last fall with the support of counties that have opted for Trump. In Massachusetts, the paid family and medical leave program signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker began providing benefits this year. In Washington state, Republicans played a key role in negotiating the paid family and medical leave program that went into effect last year.
“The pandemic has only underscored the deleterious effect on the participation of women in the labor market, on health and well-being and on economic security when people do not have access to paid leave,” he said. said Vicki Shabo, senior fellow for paid vacation policy and strategy at New America’s Better Life Lab, turning to the policy issue.
“This is a long overdue policy that both has the capacity to reach out to all working families, but also has the potential to show voters and citizens across the country that government can create a program that works for them, that meets their kitchen table needs. Shabo said.
Advocates of higher education make similar arguments for a free college, pointing to tight congressional districts where youth turnout has increased in recent elections and reminding Biden that he has outperformed the last Democratic candidate among elderly voters from 18 to 29 years old. And advocates for strengthening eldercare, like Representative Wild, want to develop the support network of homeworkers so that families without the necessary resources or access to assisted living facilities do not have to fend for themselves.
Republicans who oppose the package will pay a political price, Wild predicts. Ultimately, however, she believes their fear of joining Biden is greater than any risk of going up against him.
“Unfortunately, I suspect the GOP recognizes how essential this is, but they don’t want to do it because it looks like a victory for Democrats,” she said. “Which goes to the heart of what I always say is wrong with Washington: neither side ever wants to give the other a ‘win’. So let’s all come together behind, and call it a common victory.
With reporting by Laura Baron Lopez and Natasha Korecki