The 3 economic pledges that will shape Biden’s $4 trillion bareknuckle fight over infrastructure

Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell speaking
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Joe Biden.

  • Biden is entering a more complicated phase of his presidency, as the fight over his infrastructure plans drags on.
  • Biden’s pledges will be tested, including no tax hikes for families earning less than $400,000.
  • McConnell said on Wednesday that “100% of my focus is on standing up to this administration.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

With the first 100 days behind him, Joe Biden is entering a new phase of his presidency – one with the capacity to be a lot messier than the initial three months of the administration.

The White House is now gearing up to shepherd $4 trillion in new spending plans through the cauldron of Congress. Democrats have paper-thin majorities in both the House and the Senate, where their control stems from Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.

Biden has brought up and doubled down on three economic pledges over the past week:

  • No tax hikes for families earning below $400,000,
  • Willingness to negotiate with Republicans on infrastructure package, and
  • No deficit-spending on his long-term economic plans.

These promises are setting the parameters for the Biden administration’s next stage and test the limits of the president’s economic ambitions, given the strong Republican opposition to his proposals.

Mark Warner
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).

Roadblocks ahead for spending on roads, bridges, and more

The White House is likelier to face more roadblocks compared to its push to pass $1.9 trillion in emergency virus relief spending earlier in the year. Some of it will arise from Democrats themselves.

“As far as I can tell, this next tranche of spending will be a lot more difficult to get done than the last one,” Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), told Insider. “Not only am I not convinced that Republicans are going to play ball, but there’s also some differences with Democrats – not only in the House, but the Senate as well – about how to proceed.”

Centrist Democrats are already pushing to trim some of the tax hikes that Biden has laid out, largely focused on fetching new revenue from multinational firms, high-earners and other wealthy Americans.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he favors a 25% corporate tax rate, lower than the 28% level the president called for. He’s also insisted on cooperating with Republicans on a wide range of issues, including the economy.

Manchin isn’t alone on corporate taxes. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told NBC News on Tuesday that he “probably wouldn’t go as far” as Biden on a corporate tax increase. He also voiced some disapproval with the White House’s early move to rule out user-fees to finance infrastructure.

“I wish the president had not taken user fees off the table, whether it be a gas tax or whether it be vehicle-miles traveled,” Warner said. “I think user fees make sense and they need some bipartisan support.”

User-fees enjoy strong support from Republicans, who argue infrastructure spending should financed by people who benefit from the federal investments – essentially, the people who will drive on a rebuild road or bridge should pay for it.

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito put forward a $568 billion infrastructure counteroffer mostly focused on roads, bridges, water systems, and broadband in mid-April. That part of the plan is unlikely to gain the administration’s backing. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last month that user-fees would violate Biden’s tax pledge, which she described as a “line in the sand for him.”

Biden is still attempting to cut a deal with the GOP. Psaki recently said he’s meeting with Capito and other Republicans at the White House next week to discuss infrastructure. It remains unclear if they can strike an agreement given wide differences on the scope of their spending plans and who should pay for them.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) drew a red line of his own on Monday, saying Republicans would not go above $600 billion for an infrastructure plan, an amount less than a fifth of Biden’s spending proposals. Two days later, he said at a press conference in Kentucky that “100% of my focus is on standing up to this administration.”

Other Democratic bills on voting rights, immigration, and DC statehood have garnered no GOP support.

“As far as I can tell, Sen. Manchin is the only Democrat left on Capitol Hill that still thinks its possible to cut deals with McConnell,” Manley said.

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Only a third of Americans think Biden’s stimulus bill is too big, survey finds

joe biden
President Joe Biden.

  • A Pew survey found that only a third of Americans think Biden’s stimulus bill is too big.
  • While Republican lawmakers oppose the size of the bill, the majority of Republican voters support it.
  • Regardless of party affiliation, lower-income households support the size; some say it’s too low.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill is expected to reach its final vote on Wednesday, and according to a recent survey, only a third of Americans think the bill is too big.

Since it was first introduced, Republican lawmakers have argued that the stimulus bill Democrats have pushed through using reconciliation is too costly, and a group of Republican senators even proposed a counter-stimulus bill that was a third the size of Biden’s. But according to a survey released on Tuesday from the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans don’t see an issue with the size of the bill.

“As the House of Representatives prepares to give final approval to the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a sizable majority of US adults (70%) say they favor the legislation,” the survey said. “Only about three-in-ten (28%) oppose the bill, which provides economic aid to businesses, individuals and state and local governments.”

Here are the main findings of the survey:

  • 82% of Americans in lower-income households favor the bill, compared to 60% of upper-income households;
  • 63% of lower-income Republicans favor the bill, compared to the 25% of upper-income Republicans;
  • And 41% of Americans say the proposed spending on the bill is “about right,” with 46% of upper-income Americans saying it spends too much and 37% of lower-income Americans saying it spends too little.

The survey also found that 94% of Democrats support the bill, with 56% saying the spending is appropriate.

Despite the partisan divide in Congress, Insider previously reported on multiple findings from the past month that suggested broad public – and Republican – support for Biden’s stimulus package. For example, a Morning Consult/Politico poll from February 24 found that 60% of Republicans support the bill, and some provisions in the bill, like the $1,400 stimulus checks, have garnered Republican support.

In addition, Biden and progressive lawmakers have pushed to ensure the measures in the stimulus bill will aid those most hit by the pandemic, including lower-income Americans. A new analysis from the Tax Policy Center found that the stimulus will give the poorest Americans a 20.1% income boost after taxes, and the Pew survey found that regardless of party affiliation, those in lower-income groups approved of, or wanted to see more, spending.

“Reflecting the income pattern among all Americans, within both partisan groups, those with lower incomes are more likely than those with higher incomes to say the proposed spending on the economic bill is not enough,” the survey said.

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Parents are set to be some of the biggest winners under the Biden administration. Here are 4 ways Democrats aim to support families.

biden vaccine
President Joe Biden.

  • Parents are set to be some of the biggest winners in Biden’s fiscal stimulus proposal.
  • Democrats are trying to expand relief for families through four key proposals.
  • They are a child tax credit, “baby bonds,” school aid, and childcare assistance. Biden wants to make the first one permanent.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Democrats are pushing forward with President Joe Biden’s fiscal stimulus proposal, with Senate Democrats advancing the bill today. Parents are set to be among the biggest beneficiaries.

The president’s $1.9 trillion relief package is meant to accelerate the US economy’s rebound from the coronavirus recession. The legislation’s most-talked-about elements include $1,400 direct payments and an expansion of federal unemployment benefits, but the package could help American families, too.

The CARES Act, enacted last March, helped parents with direct payments for children, but Democrats are looking to further alleviate families’ economic pressures.

Biden has indicated he aims to pass the measure with bipartisan support, but congressional Democrats have taken steps to pass it through budget reconciliation, a process that allows the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority.

Should all 50 Senate Democrats line up in support of the package, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote, approving the measure without any Republican backing.

Here’s how Biden and congressional Democrats plan to support parents through the coronavirus recession, from an expanded child tax credit to new aid for childcare providers.

You can jump to a section or group through the table of contents here, or you can scroll through.

Table of Contents: Static

1. At least $3,000 in direct annual payments

Congressional Democrats proposed that the American Family Act form a critical part of Biden’s rescue package. Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday he supports making the temporary beefed-up child tax credit permanent, Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported, the first time the president has indicated such support.

The child-tax-credit program would, over the course of 2021, provide families $3,600 per child 5 and under, and $3,000 per child between 6 and 17. That would be up to $300 in monthly cash benefits per child for American families.

The initiative would be set up as a one-year emergency federal program, with the IRS doling out monthly benefits beginning July 1 to ease childcare costs and assist families who lost income during the pandemic. Some experts have deemed the timeline ambitious, considering tax season and the pandemic.

Nina Olson, the former head of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, noted that the IRS spent years building a framework for Obamacare’s premium tax credit.

“It is fine to authorize the payments, but there needs to be at least 18 months’ lead time, and even that is a stretch,” Olson told Politico. “Otherwise you just get something that is tacked on to mid-20th-century technology that is completely inflexible.”

One of the legislation’s sponsors, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has insisted a monthly rollout is better. “Nobody pays their bills once a year – you pay your bills each month,” she said at a virtual news briefing on the plan. “The design makes more sense and helps families make ends meet through difficult months.”

The payments could start phasing out for individuals earning $75,000 and for couples making $150,000, though this could change in the coming weeks as committees draft the legislation. The credit would be refundable, meaning lower-income families could see higher tax refunds.

Researchers at Columbia University projected that the plan could cut the child poverty rate in half. The Biden administration has indicated support, and Democrats said they’d likely press for a permanent extension later this year.

2. ‘Baby bonds’

Democrats also unveiled a plan to create $1,000 savings accounts for every American child that become accessible when they turn 18. The measure, backed by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, would add up to $2,000 to each child’s account every year.

Pressley said that introducing this so-called baby bond as a birthright would combat racial and economic injustice and set Americans up for brighter futures.

“Our bill will provide every child an opportunity to pursue higher education, purchase a home, and build wealth for generations to come,” she said in a statement.

The interest-accruing accounts would be managed by the Treasury Department. Holders could tap the account once they reach 18, and the funds could be used for only specific kinds of purchases, a 2018 press release unveiling the proposal said. Some of those are buying a home, paying for higher education, or opening a business – taking some pressure off parents who might have had to shoulder those costs.

The measure isn’t included in Biden’s proposal, but it has garnered support from influential party members including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

Booker has said the program’s $60 billion-a-year price tag could be easily offset by lifting estate taxes and eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy. While some federal policies have exacerbated the income gap, baby bonds could start to “level the playing field,” he said.

3. School aid

To support a school system strained by the pandemic, the administration is pushing for $130 billion to reopen and rebuild K-12 schools.

These funds are designed to help make schools a safe space during the pandemic, Biden’s website said. The proposal outlines reduced class sizes, modified spaces for social distancing, improved ventilation, provisions for personal protective equipment, and increased transportation to provide for social distancing on buses. Some of the funds would be allocated toward support for students’ academic, social, and emotional needs through things like extended learning time and counselors.

The aid is intended to close the digital divide that has deepened the socioeconomic gap. Some of the money would go to a COVID-19 Educational Equity Gap Challenge Grant for underserved communities and schools.

Public education, including community colleges and historically Black colleges, would get $45 billion, and $5 billion would go to governors to use for educational programs for both K-12 and higher-education students significantly affected by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, and the students and parents they serve,” Biden said in a statement in January when he first pitched the plan. “School closures have disproportionately impacted the learning of Black and Hispanic students, as well as students with disabilities and English language learners.”

4. Childcare assistance

Childcare would form a $40 billion chunk of the package, with $25 billion earmarked for an emergency stabilization fund for care providers.

A study from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in July found that about four in 10 providers said they expected to close permanently if the government didn’t offer support.

“No one can go back to work in other industries if their children aren’t in safe, healthy settings,” said Ami Gadhia, the chief of policy, research, and programs at Child Care Aware.

Another $15 billion investment would expand childcare assistance to millions of families and parents who experienced job interruption due to the pandemic. The relief aims to help the disproportionate number of women who were forced to exit the workforce and become family caregivers.

The plan also seeks to provide a tax credit for as much as half of parents’ spending on childcare for children under 13. The credit could reach up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two children. The full 50% reimbursement would start to phase out for families making more than $125,000 a year.

Outside childcare, Democrats are pushing to invest $3 billion in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. More people have used the program, commonly known as WIC, as more Americans have gone hungry through the pandemic.

The administration said the new funding would be spread out over several years and “ensure that low-income families have access to high-quality nutritious food and nutrition education.”

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3 million vaccine doses per day could boost employment by more than 2 million, report finds

covid 19 vaccine drive
Diana Carolina, a pharmacist at Memorial Healthcare System, receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Memorial Healthcare System, on December 14, 2020, in Miramar, Florida.

  • Budget experts found 3 million COVID-19 vaccines per day would boost employment by 2 million in July.
  • The increase in shots would also boost GDP growth by a percentage point in the third quarter.
  • Biden’s stimulus targets pandemic and unemployment aid, but higher vaccinations rates would speed up economic recovery. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US is currently administering, on average, 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccines per day. But budget experts say that is not enough to prompt the economic recovery the country truly needs.

In a report released on Monday by Penn Wharton Budget Model – a nonpartisan economic research organization at the University of Pennsylvania – it found that if the US increased daily vaccine doses to 3 million, then 2 million more people would find themselves employed. Also, 3 million daily doses would boost real gross domestic product by about 1% over the summer, with smaller effects later in the year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting widespread adoption of social distancing in March of 2020 led to the deepest recession on record – the continuation of the pandemic and social distancing represents the most significant drag on the economy in 2021,” the report said. “The pace of the economic recovery this year is therefore closely tied to the evolution of the pandemic, which in turn depends on the pace of vaccinations.”

John Ricco, a Penn Wharton Budget Model senior analyst and one of the authors of the report, told Insider that increasing the number of shots now will prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases in the summer. 

“If you were able to get up to 3 million doses per day, you could really prevent that summer wave, and in response, the economy would look a lot better because our model tracks the interrelationship between the course of the pandemic and the economic recovery,” Ricco said. “So if the pandemic squares in the summer, then that means that you’re going to have fewer jobs and lower GDP.”

3 million daily vaccines would raise GDP by a percentage point in the third quarter

The report projected a total of 26.5 million COVID-19 cases in 2021 if 1.5 million vaccines continue to be administered daily in the US. However, if 3 million daily doses are distributed over the next few months, the report said, the total number of COVID-19 cases would drop to 24.5 million.

Here are the main findings on economic recovery in the report:

  • At the pace of 1.5 million vaccinations per day, employment would rise to 152 million in July with 5% GDP growth in the third quarter;
  • 3 million vaccinations per day would boost employment by 2 million – to 154 million – in July, raising GDP growth by a percentage point in the third quarter;
  • Averaging over a full year, raising the daily vaccination rate to 3 million would increase employment in 2021 by nearly 1 million and GDP growth by a third of a percentage point.

The report noted that in the second half of the year, differences between the alternative vaccination rates will diminish because most people will be vaccinated by late fall, so the differences will be most noticeable in the summer.

Increasing vaccination rates has been a primary focus of President Joe Biden, who made a goal of administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days. And his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which is now under consideration in the Senate, includes funding for a more robust pandemic response, along with extended unemployment aid.

The pace of economic recovery is dependent on the pace of vaccinations, the report said, and with the country’s high unemployment rate, administering vaccines will be all the more urgent from a health and economic standpoint.

According to a report released on Monday from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, private and government employers have 10 million fewer jobs than they did in 2020, and economic recovery through pandemic relief will help restore the labor market.

“The relief package enacted at the end of the year provides important but temporary help to unemployed workers and others struggling to make ends meet,” the CBPP report said. “It should help strengthen the recovery, according to the Congressional Budget Office and other forecasters. But robust additional measures, such as those in the economic relief bill now working its way through Congress, are critical for relieving the widespread hardship among families and achieving a full, equitable recovery as quickly as possible.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on February 27, will likely speed up vaccination efforts, Ricco said, and it has received support from experts who commend its single-dose usage.

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Republicans cite lack of outreach for split on stimulus, but Biden made his plans clear weeks ago

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Republicans are citing Biden’s lack of outreach as a reason for not supporting his $1.9 trillion stimulus.
  • But Biden met with 10 GOP senators weeks ago, and he made clear he would prioritize speedy relief over bipartisanship.
  • The plan just passed the House Budget Committee, and Democrats plan to get it on Biden’s desk by mid-March.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When President Joe Biden met with 10 Republican senators in the Oval Office on February 1 to discuss their counter-proposal to his stimulus plan, he made it clear that he wasn’t willing to decrease the size of the $1.9 trillion package.

But nearly four weeks after that meeting, some of those same moderate Republicans are now saying that a lack of White House outreach is a primary reason why they don’t support his package, despite having known what the president’s plans were for weeks now.

The Republican group, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, spearheaded the $618 billion stimulus proposal, which was a third of the cost of the president’s. But Collins told reporters on Tuesday that while Biden seemed willing to hear the GOP’s proposal, it was Biden’s advisors, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who have made bipartisan efforts difficult.

“I’ve had conversations with people at the White House, and other members of the group have as well,” Collins told reporters. “But I think the sticking point is that the White House staff seems very wedded to the $1.9 trillion thing.”

She added that Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, stood in the back of the room during the meeting and shook his head at every mention of decreasing the size of the stimulus package, confirming a Washington Post report that Klain visibly disagreed with them during that meeting.

Collins did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota also told reporters on Tuesday that GOP members feeling “unconsulted” is a primary reason for their lack of support for the president’s stimulus plan and said it “makes it hard for any of our members, even those that might be inclined to do so, to vote for it. To vote for anything.”

Biden not budging

Biden made his intentions for the stimulus package clear to both Republicans and Democrats, The Washington Post reported shortly after the Oval Office meeting. When it came to certain elements of the plan, like the income thresholds for stimulus checks, the president said he would be willing to compromise on the eligibility – but not the size – of the checks. 

And when it came to discussions on unemployment insurance, for example, Biden firmly told the group that he wasn’t willing to shorten the length of benefits, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who attended the meeting, told The Washington Post. 

“I’ve told both Republicans and Democrats, that’s my preference, to work together,” Biden told reporters on February 5. “But if I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis, that’s an easy choice. I’m going to help the American people who are hurting now.”

In addition, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted at the end of January that cutting down the size of the package would never be an option.

 

Biden’s stimulus plan cleared the House Budget Committee on Monday, and it’s now headed to the House Rules Committee. Schumer said during a press conference on Tuesday that he aims to get the package to Biden’s desk before unemployment benefits expire on March 14. 

Many Democratic lawmakers abandoned the prospect of working with Republicans on the stimulus package early on, with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont saying on January 24 that he would support reconciliation measures to get pandemic relief to Americans without Republican votes. 

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Republicans see Democrats’ $15 minimum wage increase and counter with $10 instead

mitt romney tom cotton
Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton at a news conference in 2014.

To counter the Democrats’ proposal of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, two Republican senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that maintained the 2025 timeline, but would instead raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour by then.

The Raise the Wage Act of 2025, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, was included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package that passed out of the House Budget Committee on Monday. Republicans oppose the stimulus package as too large in general, but a new bill by Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mitt Romney of Utah signals bipartisan support for a minimum wage increase. 

Their Higher Wages for American Workers Act proposes to gradually raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2025 with a mandatory E-Verify, which would ensure that all workers who would receive the higher wages are legal.

“American workers today compete against millions of illegal immigrants for too few jobs with wages that are too low – that’s unfair,” Cotton said in a statement. “Ending the black market for illegal labor will open up jobs for Americans. Raising the minimum wage will allow Americans filling those jobs to better support their families. Our bill does both.”

A summary of the bill said that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would “destroy 1.4 million jobs,” and said $10 an hour would be better for the labor market. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has previously said that raising the wage to $15 an hour would have minimal effects on the availability of jobs.

The government’s nonpartisan budgetkeeper, the Congressional Budget Office, has actually looked at both numbers and their potential effect on the labor market. A 2019 report found that raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour would cost 0.1 million jobs, while a recent report said $15 an hour could reduce employment by 1.4 million jobs

Other elements of Romney and Cotton’s bill include:

  • After the raise to $10, indexing the minimum wage to inflation every two years;
  • Creating a slower phase-in for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees;
  • Raising civil and criminal penalties on employers that hire unauthorized workers;
  • Providing $100 million annually in automatic funding for the E-Verify system.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he would support an $11 an hour increase, while Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has said a minimum-wage increase isn’t appropriate for reconciliation, the process Sanders wants to use for the raise to $15. 

Although President Joe Biden has reportedly expressed his own doubts on whether the $15 increase would survive in the final version of his stimulus package, he and other Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly expressed their support for doing it to lift millions of Americans out of poverty. 

“Raising the minimum wage is not just about economic justice – it is about racial justice,” Sanders said on Twitter last Wednesday. “Nearly half of Black and Latino workers in America make under $15 an hour. We must end starvation wages, and give 32 million Americans a raise by increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

Insider’s own polling shows a majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15, as reported by Juliana Kaplan.

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Most Americans support a $15 minimum wage, but are split on how soon it should happen

fight for 15 minimum wage protest
Demonstrators participate in a protest outside McDonald’s corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021, in Chicago.

  • Over 60% of Americans definitely or probably support raising the minimum wage to $15, an Insider poll found.
  • Results came down along party lines; Democrats were more likely to support the increase.
  • But the poll found more Americans support a gradual increase to $15 by 2025.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Over 60% of respondents in a new Insider poll would definitely or probably support a $15 minimum wage. 

That increase –which would give 32 million Americans a raise – is currently a hot topic in Washington. Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are pushing for the increase to be included in reconciliation package for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus relief plan.

While Biden has reiterated his support for the increase, he’s also reportedly signaled that he’s not optimistic it’ll make it into reconciliation – and two Democratic senators seem to agree.

Outside of Washington, though, the $15 minimum wage seems to have strong support, and it has for years. A 2019 Insider poll found that 63% of respondents supported or strongly supported an increase. Since then, the economy and low-wage employment have been ravaged by the pandemic.

In Insider’s most recent poll, participants were asked: Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour?

  • Of the 1,130 respondents, 44% said they would definitely support the increase, while 21% said they probably would.
  • Conversely, 15% of respondents said they probably wouldn’t support it, 17% said they definitely wouldn’t, and 4% didn’t know. 

Party affiliations seemed to play a role in responses:

  • 58% of respondents who said they would probably vote in their state’s Democratic primaries or caucuses would “definitely” support an increase to $15 an hour.
  • But 28% of likely Republican voters would “definitely” support the increase.
  • Conversely, 9% of likely Democratic voters “definitely would not support” the raise, while 32% of likely Republican voters “definitely would not support it.”

There was also some divide along generational lines:

  • 52% of respondents between 30 and 44 “definitely would support” the increase, the highest percentage among age groups.
  • Meanwhile, 25% of respondents over the age of 60 “definitely would not support” the raise.

The current Democratic plans would gradually increase the federal minimum to $15 by 2025. Respondents to Insider’s poll were asked: If the federal minimum wage was increased to $15 per hour, do you have a preference about how that would be implemented?

  • 39% said that, if the increase were to happen, the “$15 minimum wage should be implemented immediately.”
  • But 50% would “prefer a phased rollout, gradually raising the minimum wage annually to $15 in 2025.”

When it comes to raising the minimum wage, it seems that slow and steady wins the race.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected 1,154 respondents February 22, 2021 with a 3 percentage point margin of error.

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Biden says it’s an ‘easy choice’ to push Republicans aside if it means getting his $1.9 trillion stimulus package approved faster

Joe Biden walking
  • Biden strongly indicated that he is prepared to pass his $1.9 trillion stimulus package with only Democratic votes.
  • “They’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go,” Biden said of talks with Republicans.
  • He suggested negotiations risked delaying the passage of urgently needed federal aid.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden gave one of the strongest indications yet on Friday that he is prepared to pass his $1.9 trillion emergency spending package with only Democratic votes.

While delivering remarks at the White House, Biden said he wanted to “act fast” and emphasized his large plan was designed to address the immense challenges facing the nation.

“I’d like to be doing it with the support of Republicans. I’ve met with Republicans, there’s some really fine people want to get something done,” he said. “But they’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go.”

Biden continued: “I’ve told both Republicans and Democrats, that’s my preference to work together. But if I had to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation, or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis it’s an easy choice.”

The remarks appeared to reflect a new willingness from the president to embark on a partisan path to get his rescue package approved faster. Democrats kicked off efforts this week to pass the plan through budget reconciliation. It’s a legislative maneuver allowing bills to be enacted through a simple majority of 51 votes instead of the 60 generally required in the Senate.

The plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks, $400 federal unemployment benefits through September, and assistance to state and local governments among other provisions. It has generated strong opposition from Republicans who argue it is a colossal level of untargeted spending on progressive priorities.

Up until now, the White House has courted a group of 10 Republican senators to draw their votes and add a layer of bipartisanship to the relief effort. The group led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine put forward a $618 billion measure on Monday, but Democrats rejected it as too meager. 

They said in a letter to the White House on Thursday that “we remain committed to working in a bipartisan fashion and hope that you will take into account our views as the legislative process moves forward.”

Senior administration officials have all but dismissed their plan at this stage.

“We’re not going to sit here and wait for an ongoing negotiation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Friday news briefing. “Frankly we haven’t received an offer in return, a response offer to what the president has proposed.”

It remains unclear whether the GOP senators will attempt to continue negotiations with the White House.

Read more: Biden’s stimulus plan is heightening Wall Street’s worries that inflation will upend the stock market. We spoke to 4 experts on what the raging debate means for investors and how to take advantage of it.

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