Rescue Bill, Passed by Democrats Alone, Hugely Popular With the Public

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Tim Dickinson
·3 min read
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The American Rescue Act, passed by Democrats alone in the House and Senate and signed into law Thursday by President Biden, is not only massive, it’s massively popular. The $1.9 trillion bill — which will deliver $1,400 relief checks to most citizens, dramatically expand federal support for children over the coming year, while boosting unemployment checks — is supported by 75 percent of Americans.

A new CBS/YouGov poll finds the Biden stimulus is supported in overwhelming numbers by Democrats (94 percent), Independents (77 percent), and even counts significant backing from Republicans (46 percent). Delivering on a central campaign promise, Biden is also showing that there’s a huge difference between the fool’s errand of achieving bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., and securing policies that actually unify the country.

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Significantly, the Biden stimulus wins over a key demographic that opposes the president personally and keyed the political rise of Donald Trump. In the poll, 57 percent of white Americans without college degrees oppose Biden’s handling of the presidency. But this same group also supports the stimulus by an overwhelming margin, with 68 percent approving. (The poll finds Biden holding steady with 60 percent approval overall.)

The Biden stimulus abandons of decades of trickle-down economics, which the Trump administration had doubled down on despite its populist rhetoric. The Rescue Act will put cash directly in the hands of the neediest Americans, counting on their spending to lift the nation’s economic fortunes, until the threat of coronavirus recedes. The bill sends relief checks to Americans regardless of recent employment history, a move that will slash poverty among people who’ve abandoned (or been abandoned by) the formal economy.

A new study by the Urban Institute finds that the bill will cut the nation’s poverty rate from nearly 14 percent to less than 9 percent. It finds that the Rescue Act is also expected to reduce suffering across a swath of demographics: “Poverty would fall about 42 percent for Black, non-Hispanic people, 39 percent for Hispanic people, and 34 percent for white, non-Hispanic people.”

The Rescue Act includes a dramatic, one-year boost of federal support for children. What had been a $2,000-per-child tax credit (claimed in April when filing taxes) will be increased to as much as $3,600, with much of it paid out in regular checks similar to the stimulus payment. The impact will be dramatic, increasing after-tax incomes for the poorest families with kid by nearly a third.

In addition to supporting society’s most marginalized members, the stimulus bill reinforces supports for millions of middle class jobs. In fact, Democrats’ Rescue Act is already preventing pink-slips. American Airlines announced that it is cancelling 13,000 furloughs because the bill continues to fund the Payroll Support Program, which allows hard-hit sectors like airlines to maintain staffing despite the pandemic’s blow to demand for air travel.

The Rescue Act is so clearly popular that its job-saving provisions are being touted even by Republicans who voted against it, including Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker:

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For the record: Democrats passed the Rescue Act in the Senate last week on a 50/49 party-line vote. The House passed the Senate version Wednesday without a single Republican vote. President Biden ushered the Rescue Act into law with a signing ceremony Thursday, where he insisted he was doing the business of the people even if nationally elected Republican were not: “It’s clear that an overwhelming percentage of the American people — Democrats, independents, our Republican friends — the people out there…support the American Rescue plan.”

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