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Biden hits 63 percent approval rating in new AP poll

(The Hill) Sixty-three percent of American approve of President Biden's job performance thus far, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll released Monday, up 2 percentage points from late March. The poll found 96 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of independents and 23 percent of Republicans surveyed approve of Biden's work in his first three full months in office.

The survey also showed Americans with a growing sense of optimism about the direction of the country, with 54 percent saying the nation is on the right track, compared to 44 percent who believe it is on the wrong track. The 54 percent mark is the highest of any AP-NORC poll response to the question since 2017.

On the pandemic, 71 percent of Americans approve of Biden's performance, including 47 percent of Republicans. Biden has made it the centerpiece of his administration's agenda since taking office, pushing for economic relief measures and ramping up vaccine production and distribution.


With $76B surplus, California proposes rebates for millions

(Associated Press) Aided by an astonishing nearly $76 billion budget surplus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday proposed tax rebates of up to $1,100 for millions of households and more than $7 billion to help people affected by the pandemic cover rent and utilities. Under his plan, roughly 11 million low- and middle-income Californians would see direct, one-time payments.

Taxpayers making between $30,000 and $75,000 a year would get a $600 payment. Households making up to $75,000 with at least one child would get an extra $500 payment. The projected $75.7 billion budget surplus is largely due to taxes paid by rich Californians who generally did well during the pandemic, and marks a major turnaround after officials last year said they feared a deficit of more than $50 billion.


The biggest threat to America is the Republican break with reality

(Eugene Robinson/Washington Post) The greatest threat to our nation’s future is not covid-19 or the rise of China or even the existential challenge of climate change. It is the Republican Party’s attempt to seize and hold power by offering voters the seductive choice of rejecting inconvenient facts and basic logic. For the American experiment and people to survive, much less prosper, this iteration of the GOP must fail.

The blind-loyalty-even-to-dishonest-insanity Republican litmus test that is about to cost Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) her leadership job is only the most acute manifestation of the party’s decline into utter irresponsibility. It’s bad enough that those who want to remain in good standing must embrace the “big lie” about purported fraud in the 2020 election. But the requirement doesn’t stop there. On issue after issue, Republicans are cynically adopting a kind of pre-Enlightenment insistence on the primacy of belief over evidence.


Republican Senator Joni Ernst Accuses GOP Of "Cancel Culture" Over Liz Cheney Ouster

(The Guardian) The only woman in Republican Senate leadership complained about cancel culture on Monday, regarding the imminent removal of Liz Cheney, the only woman in Republican House leadership, because she opposes Donald Trump’s big lie that the presidential election was stolen. The Iowa senator Joni Ernst told reporters: “I feel it’s OK to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and, you know, cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it. “Unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party.”


Unity and progress: Mitch McConnell leaves no doubt they're fundamentally incompatible

(NY Daily News) On the 106th day of the 1,461-day term of Joe Biden, a man who earned more votes than any president ever elected and who from the start has aspired to unify the nation and backed up that rhetoric with action, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell left no doubt: His Republicans aim to foreclose any chance at bipartisan compromise. With those cards now on the table, the president must respond accordingly. If he didn’t realize it already — and we suspect, despite his rhetoric, he did — Biden and fellow Democrats must treat the period between now and the November 2022 elections, when Republicans will quite possibly take the House and reclaim the Senate, as their only opportunity to get big things through Congress.

“One hundred percent of my focus is standing up to this administration,” McConnell proclaimed last week. “What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country.” That’s declaring the entire Biden agenda — from making major investments in American infrastructure to helping families afford education, child-care and senior care, to say nothing of gun background checks or immigration reform — DOA.


Young, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump

(The Hill) A diverse coalition of young and new voters propelled President Biden to victory in November, according to a major new study of the 2020 electorate, while former President Trump made inroads among Hispanic voters in key states. The report, from the Democratic data analytics firm Catalist, found the most diverse electorate in American history showed up to vote in last year’s elections. Twenty-eight percent of voters last year were nonwhite, up 2 percentage points from the 2016 presidential election.

More than 159 million Americans voted in 2020, the largest turnout in history. The number of nonwhite participants skyrocketed, including by 31 percent among Latino voters and 39 percent among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. For the first time, Latino voters made up 10 percent of the electorate. Black turnout rose by 14 percent, outpacing the total growth among white voters with a college degree, up 13 percent, and among whites without a college degree, up 11 percent.


Republicans In Disarray After Poll Finds Young GOPers Want To Raise Taxes To Create Jobs

(PoliticusUSA) According to a new YouGov Poll, three in five (62%) Americans support spending money on programs that could create jobs and improve the economy, even if taxes increase. About two in five (38%) would prefer to keep spending and taxes low. There is a large difference in the opinions of Republicans and Democrats on this question. More than a third of Republicans overall (39%) say they are willing to support increased spending, even at the risk of higher taxes.

But there is an age gap among Republicans. Seven in ten Republicans under the age of 45 (71%) would spend more, even at the risk of higher taxes, compared to 29% of older Republicans. Younger Republicans make up less than a third of all those who identify as Republicans. Not only do 62% of those polled want taxes to increase if it will create jobs, but 39% of all Republicans are willing to raise taxes to create jobs. The number of younger Republicans who would swap out a tax increase for more jobs should be sounding alarm bells for the Republican Party.


Trump's Ex-Pentagon Chief Chris Miller Expected to Turn On Him At Capitol Riot Hearing

(Newsweek) Miller will testify at a hearing by the House Oversight Committee entitled "The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions." The committee has said that it wants to examine the Executive Branch and District agencies' preparations for and responses to the insurrection.

In early March, Miller said that the insurrection occurred because of Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally and speech held beforehand. At the rally, Trump continued to baselessly claim that an unprecedented nationwide "criminal enterprise" of voter fraud "stole" the presidential election from him.


Kevin McCarthy hits the bottom of the barrel

(Washington Post) Kevin McCarthy was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted. A few days before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, the House Republican leader had a conference call with GOP lawmakers. On the call, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois warned McCarthy that his and other party leaders’ claims — that the election had been stolen and that Republicans had the power to block Joe Biden’s victory from being certified — “would lead to violence on January 6th.”

The response? Crickets, Kinzinger said, and then McCarthy “dismissively” blew off the warning. “Ok, Adam,” the GOP leader replied, “operator next question.” The rest — a Capitol ransacked, certification halted, five dead — is history.

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