As Congress Debates Stimulus, Approval Divides Sharply on Party Lines

As lawmakers divide down party lines on COVID-19 relief, polling shows the nation's view of Congress is also split in a partisan fashion.

Debates continue over a further stimulus package, with Democratic lawmakers pushing forward with President Joe Biden's proposal using the reconciliation process.

Republican lawmakers have continued to take issue with aspects of this, such as a move to boost the minimum wage to $15 per hour and the eligibility criteria for a further round of stimulus checks.

After the House Budget Committee advanced the $1.9 trillion package on Monday, with a full House vote expected this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) branded it a "partisan bill" and reiterated questions over its contents.

"The partisan bill Democrats are preparing is stuffed with non-COVID-related liberal goals and more band-aid policies as if the country were going to stay shut down another year," McConnell wrote on Twitter.

Other Republican lawmakers have similarly questioned the process and branded it as being partisan.

While GOP lawmakers have taken issue on this point, through reconciliation Democrats could potentially push measures through without their backing so long as their caucus is united behind the plans.

With this division, fresh polling has shown Republicans and Democrats views of Congress are vastly different.

Considering overall responses from all voters, approval of Congress has risen and is at its highest point since 2009, according to Gallup polling.

However, when split by party affiliation the Democrats' views of Congress have risen while Republican approval has plummeted.

In the latest Gallup polling, which was conducted among 1,021 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, overall approval of Congress is at 35 percent.

That is up from 25 percent in comparable polling from January, while it was at 15 percent in polling from December.

Among Republicans polled, approval of Congress was at 17 percent in January and has dipped to 8 percent in the latest polling.

But among Democrats, approval of Congress has gone from 30 percent to 61 percent between January and February. It was at 11 percent in December of last year.

This coincides with Republicans having lost control of the Senate, with Democrats now holding the majority in both chambers of Congress as well as the presidency.

President Joe Biden has spoken of his desire for plans to be implemented in a bipartisan manner, though has said he wishes to act "urgently" in getting relief out to Americans struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsweek has contacted congressional leaders from both parties for comment.

us capitol building
The U.S. Capitol building is reflected on the hood of a car on February 10, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Approval of Congress is split down party lines, with Republicans' and Democrats' views largely different, according to recent polling. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images