Democratic lawmakers, members of President Biden’s cabinet and allied organizers and activists are launching a multi-pronged public relations campaign aimed at ensuring voters know the $700 billion climate change and drug pricing bill that Biden signed into law Tuesday , understand – and appreciate the benefits of .
Leading Democrats believe popular, long-awaited policy changes in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act will help their party retain a majority in Congress in November’s midterm elections.
In Irvine on Thursday, Rep. Katie Porter, a swing-seat Democrat, stood in front of a giant orange Hitachi backhoe in the Irvine Ranch Water District, which is expanding its reservoir with funds from last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure overhaul package. Porter, who appeared alongside Home Secretary Deb Haaland, noted that the Democrats’ latest legislation — the central pillars include $369 billion to fight climate change and long-awaited changes to lower the cost of prescription drugs — continue to disrupt the Water District and similar facilities in all over the world will support country.
“This new law invests $4 billion in water conservation, efficiency and restoration, and adds to the more than $50 billion already allocated in the bipartisan Infrastructure Act to help us modernize our water infrastructure and improve our drinking water supply support,” Porter said.
A day earlier, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in western Colorado with Senator Michael Bennet to announce investments in the recent climate change bill.
Bennet, an at-risk Democrat seeking a third six-year term, spoke to a group of farmers and ranchers at a Palisade cider production facility and emphasized the bill’s $4 billion in drought mitigation funds, $20 billion for land conservation projects and $5 billion -Dollars for improving forest health and preventing fires.
“We passed some interesting legislation,” Bennet told the group. “And every step of the way we’ve tried to make sure we’re supporting our producers,” he continued, touting the new forestry funding as “a record amount.”
From the early days of his presidency, Biden has said his party must clearly and constantly explain its actions to the public. Biden recalled the Obama administration’s struggle to sell the Affordable Care Act in 2010 before an eventual midterm annihilation, and urged Democrats to take advantage of America’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which they pushed through in March 2021 had to brazenly praise.
“Barack was so humble, he didn’t want to do what he said was a ‘victory lap,'” Biden told House Democrats at the time. “I kept saying, ‘Tell people what we did.’ He said: “We don’t have time. I will not do a lap of honour.’ And ironically, we paid a price for that, for that humility.”
Biden’s team hopes their broader efforts will yield a different outcome for Democrats in November. Republicans, who stoked fears about “death chambers,” rising premiums, and reduced choice of doctors or rates after the 2010 passage of the Health Care Act, have also attacked the new law as costly and partisan. They have questioned whether it will actually reduce the cost of goods and services and suggested that the $80 billion aimed at reducing Internal Revenue Service arrears could lead to more audits of low-income households and middle income will lead.
But today’s GOP is often more concerned with what enlivens the party’s grassroots — culture wars, grievances, and tests of loyalty to former President Trump — than with political debates and the legislative process.
“The framework for getting things done just doesn’t appeal to Republicans,” said Sarah Longwell, a Republican adviser and outspoken Trump critic who regularly convenes focus groups of voters of all stripes. “Even so, Biden is finding his step and some things are happening — that does him a lot of good with Democrats, who have wanted a lot of these things for a long, long time.”
The key for the White House, and for Democrats running for office across the country, will be convincing less partisan voters to view their agenda in a positive light — and to differentiate themselves from the Republican agenda.
“The past few weeks have boosted the motivation of Democratic voters while helping make the election a decision [between the two parties], no referendum on us,” said a government official who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the Democrats’ election chances. “The incumbent must always have a choice.”
According to current surveys, the new law and its individual components are already enjoying great popularity. A Morning Consult poll on Wednesday showed that 76% support the price cap on prescription drugs. The provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers and the $2,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket drug costs received support from 70% of respondents.
“These are things that mean something to working families,” said John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster who helped run Biden’s 2020 campaign and remains close to the White House.
After several difficult months, with Biden’s approval rating hovering just above or below the 40 percent mark, Congress’ recent productivity surge has changed the political landscape.
“It’s good to be back on offense,” said Anzalone. “He has now done what he said during the campaign. There will be $5 [billion] to $6 billion to be spent by Election Day [on the campaign]. What the President has done is: He has given the frontline Democrats the tools to spread a real competitive message about what they have done for the American people and also to draw the contrast with the Republicans, who voted against all of this.”
Biden plans to celebrate the bill with Democratic lawmakers in the White House shortly after Labor Day, a key milestone as the midterm election cycle enters its final two-month phase. By that time, Cabinet officials will have held 35 events in 23 states, according to the White House. Millions of Americans will have seen some of the television ads that Democrats are funding to raise awareness and support for the new law.
Much of the Democrats’ messaging blitz will target specific constituencies. Build Back Together, a pro-Biden organization founded by the President’s campaign team, has run $1 million in television, radio and digital media ads this week in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington, DC, in English and Spanish
At the same time, three progressive organizations are pouring $10 million into another advertising campaign highlighting the “transformative” nature of the legislation. An ad focusing on the $369 billion carbon-cutting investment will appear primarily on cable TV and streaming services, which are more likely to be used by younger voters.
“Young climate activists have set a high bar for climate action, which was critical to the success of the bill,” said Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of campaigns for the League of Conservation Voters, which co-funded the push with Climate Power and Future USA – Forward action. “Our goal now is to help them understand the great climate elements of the law so that they continue to engage with this issue.”
In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to lower expectations of the GOP regaining control of the evenly divided chamber.
He told reporters that there’s “probably a greater likelihood that the House of Representatives will topple than the Senate,” which seems to betray some frustration at polls showing some Trump-backed Republican Senate candidates in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona lagging behind, with the latter two Democratic incumbents looking more vulnerable months ago. “The quality of the candidates has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell said.
Conversely, the Democrats are suddenly bubbling over with optimism.
“People assumed the Republicans would have completed the midterm election just as they assumed the Atlanta Falcons would win this Super Bowl,” Anzalone said, referring to the New England Patriots’ comeback behind the then-quarterback Tom Brady after being down 3:28 in the third quarter in Super Bowl LI in the 2016 NFL season. “Biden will be Tom Brady in this scenario.”
Stokols reported from Washington, Vega from Irvine.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-08-19/democrats-inflation-reduction-act-midterms Democrats launch major effort to sell Inflation Reduction Act to voters