Feb 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House memo: Obstruction will cost GOP

McConnell and Biden

President Biden speaks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at inauguration. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mike Donilon, senior adviser to President Biden, argues in a memo to White House senior staff that GOP opposition to the COVID rescue package would shrink the party's already declining national support.

What they're saying: "There seems to be a growing conventional wisdom that it is either politically smart — or, at worst, cost-free — for the GOP to adopt an obstructionist, partisan, base-politics posture," Donilon writes in the two-page memo, obtained by Axios. "However, there is lots of evidence that the opposite is true: ... this approach has been quite damaging to them."

Between the lines: The memo cites a Morning Consult poll showing a Biden approval rating of 62% with registered voters. Just 23% of registered voters think the Republican Party is going in the right direction, while 63% say the party is on the wrong track.

  • Other data points: Tens of thousands of Republicans across the country have switched party affiliation since the Capitol riot, the N.Y. Times reports. The Economist/YouGov polling finds a decline in voters calling themselves Republicans since November (from 42% to 37%).
  • "[Y]ou see a party shrinking its appeal in this country — not growing it," Donilon writes. "Opposing President Biden’s American Rescue Plan only exacerbates Republicans' predicament. ... [T]he GOP is putting itself at odds with a rescue package supported overwhelmingly by the American people."

Polls put support for Biden's American Rescue Plan at 68% (Quinnipiac) or more.

  • Donilon called opposition to the plan "politically isolating": "The country is looking for action. For progress. For solutions. On COVID. On the economy. You see it and hear it all over the country. Voters are hurting."

Read the memo.

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