Spending to repair bridges, highways, and major roads has 84% overall public support in the New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll. Funding for improvements to ports, waterways, and airports, and funding to make high-speed broadband internet available nationwide both get 78% support. Increased spending on mass transit gets 67% support, which means more than four in 10 Republicans support mass transit spending.
This poll didn’t include a question on Biden’s proposal to invest $400 billion in caregiving to seniors and others, but a recent Politico/Morning Consult plan found majority support, including among Republicans, for that provision, as well as for boosting medical manufacturing, replacing lead water pipes, building and improving public schools, and modernizing veterans’ hospitals.
Congressional Republicans, though, are united in their opposition, and think they’re really going to make hay on the Biden plan to raise corporate taxes to pay for it. The problem for them is that polling shows voters support raising corporate taxes, in general and specifically to pay for this infrastructure plan.
Republicans also plan to try again with the arguments they used against the American Rescue Plan, including that Biden wasn’t being bipartisan enough. Which he cannot be, because Republicans are committed to never supporting anything that might strengthen Biden—even if it does so by strengthening the United States and its economy.
At a news conference with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. John Barrasso whined about Biden’s “my way or the highway” approach to getting infrastructure passed. Pro tip, guy: Don’t use highway metaphors to support your rejection of spending on highways—spending that voters want. But it’s the same ol’ same ol’ strategy we’ve been seeing from Republicans all along, with Republicans refusing to negotiate in good faith or embrace any kind of compromise, then acting outraged that Democrats try to get things done nonetheless.
With budget reconciliation, requiring just a simple majority vote in the Senate, and an option for passing the American Jobs Plan, the real problem for Biden and Democrats will be Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Where Biden wants to raise the corporate income tax rate from the Republican-passed rate of 21% to 28%, halfway back to where it was before the 2017 Republican tax law, Manchin is insistent on 25%. Biden has indicated he’s open to compromising on the tax rate, even though let’s face it, 28% was already a compromise on this one.
The American Jobs Plan is popular with voters. Huge swaths of it, including ones congressional Republicans are already trying to paint as “not really infrastructure,” are even more popular than the overall bill. Democrats need to do what it takes to get this thing done, strengthening both the jobs economy now and U.S. infrastructure for decades to come.