Voters really like Biden's Build Back Better Act — and are happy to tax the rich for it: poll

Voters really like Biden's Build Back Better Act — and are happy to tax the rich for it: poll

The $3.5 trillion dollar Build Back Better Act of 2021, in its current form, faces opposition in Congress not only from Republicans, but also, from centrist Democrats like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. However, that doesn't mean that it is unpopular with U.S. voters. And according to a newly released Vox/Data for Progress poll, many voters are willing to tax the rich in order to pay for it.

Vox's Tim Ryan Williams reports that the poll, "conducted October 8-12, found that 71% of voters support raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans to pay for the bill. Eighty-six percent of Democrats and 50% of Republicans backed the idea. Other tax provisions focused on the wealthy that could be included in the bill — such as tax increases on corporations and capital gains — found 65% or more support overall."

The Vox/Data for Progress poll got into specific things in the Build Back Better Act that U.S. voters like. Williams notes that "63% of voters in the poll said they supported the $3.5 trillion overall plan that includes spending on health care, long-term care, child care and clean-energy jobs."

Vox and Data for Progress also found that 72% of U.S. voters favor "increasing capital gains taxes on (the) wealthy."

Williams notes, "Expanding Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision and hearing also showed strong support, with 12% of respondents ranking it the highest priority, and another 12% picked policies to increase access to long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities. Republicans were especially supportive of the provisions for health care and long-term care for older adults, compared to Democrats, who most frequently cited the tax increases and clean-energy measures as top priorities."

But it remains to be seen which parts of the Build Back Better Act will survive — or if the bill will pass at all in any form. The bill could narrowly pass in the U.S. Senate without Republican support if it goes through the process known as "budget reconciliation," which is an exception to the 60-vote requirement of the filibuster. But both Manchin and Sinema have made it clear that they believe the $3.5 trillion price tag is too high, and a lot of things would have to be cut in order to get them on board for a smaller, less comprehensive bill. Some centrist pundits are arguing that passing a watered down bill would be better than passing no bill at all, as Democrats are going to need some legislative achievements to brag about going into the 2022 midterms.

"The precariousness of the bill largely comes down to Democrats' very thin majorities in the House and Senate," Williams observes. "That gives Joe Manchin, a senator from a Trump-voting coal state, the power to dictate demands on climate provisions as well as the overall size of the bill. It also means another centrist senator, Kyrsten Sinema, is a key figure in the negotiations, even though it's not totally clear what she wants in the bill."

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