Biden’s COVID bill could define political problem in midterm election


With the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by the House on Wednesday and headed to President Biden’s office, the legislative battle over the massive measure ends – but the public relations and political battles do not are just getting started.

And the package, the first major legislative success in Biden’s short term so far in the White House, will likely be a determining factor in next year’s midterm elections, which will be a referendum on the first two years of Biden’s tenure.


Biden is planning a media blitz to sell the measure to the American public, with its rollout starting Thursday night when the president delivers his first prime-time speech, where he will mark the year since the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and put spotlight the lifeline its COVID relief will provide the nation.

Democrats, who hope to retain control of the House and increase their slim Senate majority in the mid-term of 2022, plan to introduce the bill in the coming months.

“We are going to campaign on this legislation,” Senator Gary Peters told reporters on Monday. The chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the Senate Democrats’ re-election body, stressed that “we will show meaningful results for those in need.”

Republicans see the package as a liberal wishlist and a “blue state bailout” that is chock-full of unnecessary spending that is not directly related to the pandemic. Their message is already in progress.

As Fox News first reported on Sunday, independent nonprofit conservative rights group American Action Network has already placed ads in 11 congressional districts now owned by House Democrats targeting the COVID package. The spots criticize the legislation as Speaker of the House “the liberal stimulus of Nancy Pelosi”.


Veteran Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio told Fox News that when it comes to the political impact of the COVID package, “the devil is in the details.”

“When the fine print finally catches up with them, the American people will realize it wasn’t that big,” said Fabrizio, who was Donald Trump’s pollster during his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

Fabrizio argued that “only 10.11% of the money actually goes to the fight against COVID. The rest of the money goes to a whole bunch of other things, like bailing out states and bailing out cities and towns. pension fund, money that has nothing to do with direct relief from COVID. “

The seasoned strategist, who also worked on Senator Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, added that while “people like the idea of ​​direct control and like the idea of ​​relief from COVID, it’s actually less in terms of of relief than the previous measures, which helped with businesses and individuals. “

Fabrizio noted that this bill “is more of a bailout for big cities and a bloated government than anything else.”


Longtime Democratic pollster John Anzalone, a veteran of many presidential campaigns, including Biden’s successful White House bid in 2020, said most voters appreciate the adoption of the COVID relief plan.

“Voters are incredibly transactional. They’ve been through a crisis for an entire year and they recognize that there are needs there,” Anzalone told Fox News, “They love that there is a president with a national plan. “

Highlighting Biden’s approval rating for handling the coronavirus – which sits around 60% in the latest opinion poll – Anzalone said voters “recognize that there is a president who is in control and whose job number one solves this problem. “

Pushing back on the Republican message that the COVID measure is a liberal wish list, Anzalone said “this is political rhetoric and artificial arguments against reality. And the point is if you are a family out there struggling economically because you are in a full year of a pandemic and an uncertain work environment, this money means real things. “

Anzalone argued that the Republican attacks “miss the big picture of what’s going on with real people … it’s going to give tens of millions of families some breathing space until we get to May or June. , when everyone is vaccinated. I don’t think the American public is going to buy that this is a Christmas tree for the Liberals when there is money in there to help open schools. “

As for the controversial public and municipal aid, Anazlone said: “Tell me what the Republican governor or mayor does not want from public and local aid, given how much these treasures have been decimated and the real ones. things they need to do. The Republican argument right now just doesn’t pass the smell test and I don’t think real people are going to buy it. ”

Strong opposition from the GOP party line to the measure will backfire on Republicans next year when they attempt to win back majorities in the House and Senate, the seasoned strategist believes.

“Helping states and schools to speed up vaccine delivery to open schools, these are all things that are not only popular, but wanted and needed,” Anzalone said. “So I think the Republicans are going to some explain why they voted against this bill.”


But Republican pollster Fabrizio disagreed.

Asked about the Democrats’ argument, he replied that “they are talking about what could be a short term situation today. problems that worry Americans. “

“And one of them can be growing debt. And one of them can be raising taxes. And one of them can be Biden’s immigration plan,” Fabrizio said. . “There are so many other things going on by then that putting all your chips in this basket and saying it’s going to cost Republicans the next election is extremely short-sighted.”

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