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Democratic insiders urge warring factions in Congress to pass Biden agenda or face 2022 wrath

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 9/27/2021 David M. Drucker
Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Washington Examiner

Democratic insiders have one message for the liberals and centrists in their party who are haggling over President Joe Biden’s economic agenda on Capitol Hill: Figure it out — or else.

Democratic pollsters and liberal activists say failure to clear a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package chock full of Biden’s spending priorities, in total or in part, and failure to approve a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the president negotiated would sink the party’s congressional majorities in 2022. Votes on both bills could happen this week, although Democratic liberals and centrists in the House and Senate were still at odds over the various legislation early Monday.

“Both of the bills are vital to Democratic success, particularly in the House, in 2022,” said Navin Nayak, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the political arm of the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank. “The stakes are really high.”

Nayak and a trio of senior Democratic pollsters spoke with reporters Friday to emphasize how critical it is politically for Democrats in the House and Senate to reach agreements on elements of Biden’s “Build Back Better” economic agenda. Democrats are defending a slim five-seat majority in the House and a paper-thin tiebreaker vote in the Senate. Proving to voters that they can govern is crucial to their 2022 prospects.

To underscore that point, the Democratic pollsters referred to survey data from mid-September. The polling revealed that Biden’s economic agenda is popular with voters in battleground states and 48 battleground House districts but forecasted danger for congressional Democrats if they do not stop the infighting and rally behind both the reconciliation package and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Voters are largely unsympathetic to Democratic complaints about Republican efforts to block both pieces of legislation.


“It’s very important in terms of speaking to those battleground voters for the Democrats to talk about these accomplishments, which means we have to get it done because some of those battleground voters are really unsure about what the Democrats are doing as it relates to the economy,” said Jefrey Pollock, a Democratic pollster and president of the firm Global Strategy Group.

In the mid-September survey of battleground states and 48 battleground districts, Democratic pollster Molly Murphy found that even the price tag of the reconciliation package — a staggering $3.5 trillion — does not scare away a majority of voters, with 54% approving of the legislation and 43% opposing. That disparity stretches to 58% for and 37% against among independent voters.

In the same poll, 50% of voters said they were more likely to vote to reelect incumbents who support the package, with a plurality of 46% saying they were less likely to vote to reelect incumbents who oppose the legislation. Just 33% of battleground voters said they were less likely to support incumbents who voted against the reconciliation bill. “This is popular policy,” said Murphy, a partner at ALG Research, a Democratic polling firm that advises Biden.

Biden’s job approval ratings have dropped considerably amid multiple crises, from the botched withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan to a surge of illegal immigrants at the Mexican border to a summer resurgence of the coronavirus. Although it is true that the president’s jobs agenda has generally received good reviews from voters, it is also true that voters are concerned about rising inflation and an uneven economic recovery from the pandemic.

Republicans blame Biden and the Democrats, and polling suggests they are having some success. Democrats now lead the generic ballot, gauging which party voters would prefer to run Congress, by a narrow 2.2 percentage points. The president’s job approval rating is sitting at 45.4%. The Democratic pollsters conceded that the political environment is challenging for their party — the party out of power in the White House historically picks up seats in midterm elections.


That is why, they said, it is imperative for Democrats in the House and Senate to resolve differences over the size and scope of the reconciliation spending package and not sink the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which cleared the Senate with a substantial bipartisan majority over the summer. Especially if Biden’s job approval ratings do not recover, incumbent Democrats need accomplishments they can present to the voters who might want to send a message of disapproval to Washington.

“People want to see their leaders take action,” said pollster Margie Omero, a principal at the Democratic firm GBAO.


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Tags: News, Campaigns, 2022 Elections, Joe Biden, Congress, Democratic Party

Original Author: David M. Drucker

Original Location: Democratic insiders urge warring factions in Congress to pass Biden agenda or face 2022 wrath


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