By Casey Harper | The Center Square
President Joe Biden failed to get either of Congress’ two major spending bills passed last week, and now new polling shows that the plans may be in trouble.
Convention of States Action released new polling Monday showing that the majority of Americans are less likely to support Biden’s $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” plan if they raise taxes and increase the national debt.
Biden’s plan includes several tax increases, including a tax on tobacco products, raising capital gains taxes, and others. Biden would also increase IRS auditing to fund a litany of social spending plans, from free community college to universal pre-kindergarten to climate change spending and paid family leave.
The poll found 71.5% of Americans say they are less likely to support Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion budget bill if they know it increases taxes and grows the national debt.
“Independents and Republicans oppose this bill by huge majorities, as do fully half of Democrats,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action.
Biden has made clear he would increase taxes to fund his plan, though last week he claimed it would not add to the national debt.
“The Build Back Better Agenda costs $0,” the White House said Monday. “The plan will ensure the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share and won’t raise taxes on anyone making less than $400K a year. That’s a big deal.”
Critics have taken issue with that assertion, since there is serious doubt over whether the bill would raise enough tax revenue to fund itself, and even if it did, those taxes would cost the economy jobs and overall growth.
“The $3.5 trillion in spending and tax credits combined with at least $2 trillion in tax hikes will add to the debt and have a tremendous cost to the economy and to the health of American families,” David Ditch, a budgetary expert at the Heritage Foundation, said. “The taxes will hit families taking home as little as $30,000 per year, violating President Biden’s promise, reduce private sector investments that create jobs and opportunities for workers, and put America at a disadvantage with our global competitors.”
According to the survey, 73.7% of Independents say they are “less likely to support President Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion budget bill if they know it increases taxes and grows the national debt.”
The survey was conducted Sept. 29th through Oct. 1st of more than 1,000 likely 2022 voters.
Americans’ concern over increasing the national debt is a key cause of deadlock in Congress in recent days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House would pass the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill last week but was unable to get the votes.
Progressive members of her own party are concerned the infrastructure bill will pass without the more controversial $3.5 trillion legislation, all while Congress faces a deadline to raise the debt ceiling this month or face defaulting on U.S. debt, which would wreak havoc on the economy.
Democrats are calling on Republicans to help raise the debt ceiling, which will allow the federal government to make payments to its debtors, but Republicans point out that Democrats have enough votes to raise the debt ceiling without Republican aid.
Some Democrats are balking at being on the political hook for raising the debt, and Republicans are not eager to help them do so, especially when Democrats can use reconciliation to pass the debt limit increase without any Republican votes.
Biden called on Republicans to help with the debt ceiling Monday, warning of the economic consequences. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell responded, pointing to the times when Biden was a senator and would not vote to raise the debt ceiling himself.
“As you and I know from shared Senate experience, this is not unusual,” McConnell said. “The debt limit is often a partisan vote during times of unified government. In 2003, 2004, and 2006, Mr. President, you joined Senate Democrats in opposing debt limit increases and made Republicans do it ourselves. You explained on the Senate floor that your ‘no’ votes did not mean you wanted the majority to let the country default, but rather that the President’s party had to take responsibility for a policy agenda which you opposed. Your view then is our view now.
“There is one difference between then and now: Leader Schumer requested and won new powers to repeatedly reuse the fast-track, party-line reconciliation process,” he added. “As a result, Senate Democrats do not need Republican cooperation in any shape or form to do their job.”