Politics

GOP Leaders Outside Of Washington Support Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Plan

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Colby McCoy Contributor
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  • GOP leaders outside of Washington D.C. have signaled support for President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan, despite continued opposition from congressional Republicans, The Washington Post reported.
  • A CBS News poll found an overwhelming majority of respondents, 83%, support passing another round of COVID-19 relief and 52% of Republicans believe bipartisanship to be a crucial factor.
  • Last month more than 400 mayors, including Republicans, wrote a letter to Congress calling for “direct fiscal assistance to all cities, which is long overdue.”

Many GOP leaders outside of Washington D.C. have signaled support for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan despite opposition from congressional Republicans, The Washington Post reported.

Local Republican mayors and governors battling rising unemployment, violent crime, homelessness and plummeting tax revenues are reportedly supportive of Biden’s relief plan as conditions continue to deteriorate amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Post reported.

While congressional Republicans have opposed elements of the plan, local GOP leaders have argued federal funds are crucial to keeping police on the street, caring for the homeless and preventing small businesses from closing their doors, the Post reported. (RELATED: Pelosi Says COVID-Relief Bill Will Include $15 Minimum Wage)

Republican Mayor Jerry Dyer of Fresno, California, is facing a $31 million budget deficit which could force the city to terminate more than 250 employees, which includes firefighters and local police, the Post reported.

“That is going to be devastating,” Dyer told the Post. “It’s not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It’s a public health issue. It’s an economic issue. And it’s a public safety issue.”

Dyer’s support for Biden’s relief plan diverges from Republicans in Congress, who proposed a $618 billion plan that offers $1,000 stimulus checks to a limited percentage of Americans, $300 in weekly unemployment benefits as well as $50 billion in small business aid through the Paycheck Protection Program.

“It’s uncertain as to what our budget is going to look like in this year. A lot of the things that affect local governments are lagging indicators, so we won’t know for sure. But certainly, we’re going to put the money to good use, and I think we’ve demonstrated that with the — with the funding that we did receive under the first CARES Act,” Republican Mayor Francis Suarez said at a Friday White House press briefing when asked whether cities and states should receive additional relief.

More than 400 mayors, including GOP leaders, wrote a letter last month urging Congress to quickly pass Biden’s relief plan, the Post reported.

“You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said to a bipartisan group of mayors at a Feb. 12 meeting to discuss the relief plan. The group included GOP leaders from Arkansas and Texas.

“Republican mayors & governors say they badly need aid to keep police, to prevent small businesses from going under & to care for homeless & hungry,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted in response to the Post’s article on growing GOP support.

A recent CBS News poll conducted by YouGov found that an overwhelming majority of respondents, 83%, support passing another round of relief. Compared to 43% of Democrats who say the plan is big enough and 45% who say it is too small, 34% of Republicans felt that Biden’s relief plan is adequate while another 27% said it is inadequate. In addition, 52% of Republicans say that bipartisanship should be prioritized in the passage of the plan.

Although Republicans are more likely to have concerns over the size of the relief package, Republican respondents whose family finances have been impacted by the coronavirus are more likely to support the plan, CBS News reported.

The CBS News survey interviewed 2,508 U.S. respondents between Feb. 5 and 8 and was weighted based on U.S. Census Bureau and 2020 voter registration data. The margin of error for the survey was 2.3 points.

“Under normal circumstances, this kind of government spending would be completely unacceptable,” Suarez told the Post. “But this is a crisis.”

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