In the deep red of West Virginia, Biden’s $ 3.5 billion spending proposal is hugely popular | West Virginia


EElizabeth Masters is not a natural follower of Joe Biden. A self-proclaimed conservative who lives in Parkersburg, in deeply Republican West Virginia, she said she registered to vote in the last election so she could vote for Donald Trump.

Masters says she doesn’t approve when people “just give handouts” – she doesn’t think the United States should spend money on undocumented immigrants, for example – but says it all. who “will help people who are trying to do for themselves, I’m all for it.

To that end, Masters has been sympathetic to the Biden administration’s efforts to pass a $ 3.5 billion budget proposal that is full of ambitious plans to help poorer and working-class Americans on a range. social issues ranging from child care to health care.

Although Republicans and West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin vehemently oppose it, there is evidence that the proposals in the spending plans – which some have likened to the 1930s New Deal – are more popular. among the rank and file Republicans as their political representatives. This may be especially true in West Virginia, which is a poor, largely white, and working-class state whose residents would benefit greatly from the Biden effort.

That’s why Masters says it supports the Child Tax Credit, monthly IRS payments made to families with children earning less than $ 200,000. The Build Back Better plan would make the funding permanent.

Masters and her husband recently took out a loan to repair the roof of their house, but the house was destroyed in a fire. They didn’t have insurance, so they still pay off the loan. The child tax credit payment she receives each month for her nine-year-old son covers this loan each month.

Biden’s budget bill includes his Build Back Better plan, which would lower taxes for most Americans, raise taxes for the rich, train more workers, and lower costs for health care, child care, education and housing.

When the non-partisan, nonprofit WorkMoney surveyed more than 50,000 of its 2 million members nationwide, it found that 81% of those polled said they supported the plan. This includes 90% of the Liberals who responded to the survey, 81% of the moderates and 66% of the Conservatives.

Conservative support seems even stronger in West Virginia, home of Manchin, a moderate Democrat who is one of the main opponents of the budget bill and whose efforts could derail the whole plan – or see it all. chunks discarded as he balks at budget. price tag.

But according to the survey, 80% of the more than 800 people polled in his home country think he should vote to pass the bill. This includes 77% of Conservatives who responded to the poll.

Amy Shafer from Elkview, West Virginia, has also seen the benefits of the tax credit. She is a single mother with three children who works as a part-time cashier. She recently missed weeks of work after being diagnosed with cancer. Shafer underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but then, after she recovered, she and two of her children contracted Covid-19 and had to be quarantined for 10 days.

Shafer did not receive a paycheck during this period.

The child tax credit “helped me keep my house,” she said. “It helped me pay for my electricity, it paid for my water and it paid for my sewer. ”

The CLC also paid for back-to-school clothing for its children when the family’s state-issued clothing vouchers did not arrive on time.

Shafer has voted for both Manchin and Trump in the past, though she is not affiliated with either party yet. She is frustrated with elected officials in Washington who, she says, are dragging their feet on programs that would help working class people like her.

“I would like one of them to take a day for me,” she said. “Do what I do and see if it sounds like their way of life. “

John Findlay, executive director of the West Virginia Republican Party, denied that Biden’s efforts were popular in his home state. “If it were close to reality, the bill would have already been passed,” he said.

Findlay says his office has received a lot of calls and emails about the bill and everyone seems to share the same opinion. “No one is calling for him. Literally, of the emails and phone calls we get, everyone we get is against it, ”he said.

But Joseph A Scalise from Terra Alta, West Virginia, says politicians are out of touch.

“We are dealing with rich people. What do they understand from people like us who try to keep our heads above water? Said Scalise, who claims to be a conservative Republican who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. “It’s time for them to stop having these little wars with each other and start thinking about the American people again.”

Scalise, 67, once worked as a welder in coal mines, a well-paid job. Today, he is a caregiver for disabled children and earns $ 13 an hour. He says he supports the Build Back Better plan because the proposed changes to healthcare will help the families it serves and improvements to the country’s infrastructure will allow more people to return to work.


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