New polling from Data for Progress and Invest in America finds that the majority of likely voters support passing President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure and families plan through budget reconciliation, which allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority vote.
The poll of 1,183 Americans, seen by Truthout, found that 62 percent of people polled support passage of the package through reconciliation, with 86 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 36 percent of Republicans in favor. Only 31 percent of poll respondents said that they oppose the proposal.
A majority of those polled also showed support for proposals put forth in Biden’s original package like funding for clean energy, senior care and education.
The polling, which produced similar results to one by the same organization done earlier this year, bolsters support for passing Biden’s infrastructure package as he originally proposed it through what would likely be a Democrats-only vote. The package, which was unveiled in March, has been chipped away by bipartisan negotiations to nearly an eighth of its original size in the past months.
The current package is drastically smaller than Biden’s original $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. After bipartisan negotiations with a group of centrist senators, the White House has agreed to a plan with only $579 billion in new spending, cutting out many of the original plan’s key climate and affordable housing proposals as well as plans to raise taxes on corporations and the rich.
Also cut out of the current bill agreed upon by the centrists and the White House is the entirety of the American Families Plan, which included proposals like expanding Medicare coverage, establishing universal paid family leave and investing in child care.
As the polling shows, however, the months of negotiations and cuts weren’t necessarily needed in order to garner public support for the infrastructure proposal. The White House and certain Democrats, however, have been reluctant to pass the bill with only Democratic support, either by eliminating the filibuster or using budget reconciliation.
Indeed, Biden continues to walk back his own proposals even as Democrats are uniting — a rare move — behind a wider slate. In response to the massively pared-back infrastructure proposal on offer from centrists, Democrats have said that they plan to pass a large, potentially $6 trillion reconciliation bill that incorporates all of the elements cut from Biden’s original proposal.
But Biden apparently doesn’t entirely agree with that idea, Politico pointed out and confirmed with the White House on Wednesday.
Though Democrats and progressives seemed to be operating under the impression that anything that was cut out of the bill could be incorporated into the reconciliation package, Politico finds that Biden only wants to incorporate things that Republicans oppose explicitly. This means that proposals like providing $157 billion for electric vehicles — cut down to a mere $15 billion in the new plan — might not make it into the reconciliation plan with Biden’s approval.
“This may seem like a minor point, but it has big implications,” wrote Politico. “On the left, some progressives have argued that they would simply add to the reconciliation bill anything that wasn’t fully funded in the bipartisan bill. That’s not happening.”
This will likely frustrate progressives, especially those who have said that they will only vote for the $579 billion bill if the reconciliation bill is passed with it. Progressives are already frustrated with the president for allowing Republican and moderate Democrats to dictate the terms of the bill, and people like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have warned Biden that allowing bipartisan negotiations to drag on could end up hurting Democrats in the end.