Stock Groups

Progressive groups launch campaign to pressure Republicans to back Biden agenda


Protestors march across the Brooklyn Bridge holding a sign to “tax the rich” to demand funding for excluded workers in the New York State budget on March 5, 2021 in New York City. crises.

David Dee Delgado | Getty Images

Several progressive groups are launching a $2 million campaign to pressure Republican lawmakers up for reelection in key states to back President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Tax March is leading progressive nonprofit groups to hold protests in support of the agenda and run ads against GOP members in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states.

According to Maura Quint, Tax March’s Executive Director, the groups will highlight the popularity of several Biden’s major initiatives among the public.

Biden’s so-called “Build Back Better” agenda includes raising taxes on wealthy taxpayers and corporations, as well as lowering prescription drug and housing costs. These proposals form part of the continuing battle on Capitol Hill for a budget reconciliation bill deal that could run to as high as $3.5 trillion. Senate passed the $1 trillion, bipartisan infrastructure bill. It awaits House approval.

A Navigator Research poll taken in August showed that the economic aspects of the administration’s agenda are supported by sizable groups of independents and Republican voters. Survey of 1,002 voters across the country showed that over 60% of Republicans supported many of Biden’s economic policies.

Biden’s budget proposal, which has been met with resistance from some centrists within the Democratic Party is not expected to be supported by Republicans. Democrats may use the GOP’s opposition to some of the most popular aspects of Biden’s budget plan as an electoral hammer next year.

Along with campaign partners like Progress Georgia, Innovation Ohio and Battle Born Progress, Tax March is led by the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s dark money group. Sixteen Thirty Fund is a nonprofit 501(c), which does not disclose its donors. They spent more than $60 million supporting Democratic causes in 2020.

Tax March has previously called on FedEx and Nike to pay higher corporate taxes.

Jesse Ferguson, a former executive director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNBC in an email that campaigns like the one being organized by Tax March will keep voters aware of policies that Democrats believe are popular, whether Republicans agree or not.

Ferguson explained Monday, “Republicans spent the past months trying to change this topic every opportunity they get.”

New campaign is targeting Republicans in key states like Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The new campaign is designed to pressurize Mariannette Jane Miller (R-Iowa), Brian Fitzpatrick, R. Pa., Steve Chabot and Sen. Ron Johnson, R. Wis. organizers stated. All the lawmakers will be running for reelection in next year’s elections.

Johnson is one the Senate’s top critics, and the $1 million campaign will feature an ad against him. CNBC has reviewed the spot and it will run in Wisconsin from October to November. Johnson is attacked for not supporting Biden’s key agenda elements. The letter urges Johnson’s constituents to call the Wisconsin Republican office and “Tell Ron Johnson”: It is time to give Wisconsin a second chance.

CNBC spoke with Jeff Garis on Monday, who is the leader of Fitzpatrick’s Pennsylvania district effort. He said they will gather in Bucks County Wednesday to “try to raise the message there and educate people to call Congressman Fitzpatrick for the Build back Better plan.” Garis said that the same message will be sent to Fitzpatrick’s district office on Friday by the group.

Garis stated that the Fitzpatrick campaign will involve only a handful of people.

CNBC reviewed mobile billboards designed to target Fitzpatrick. They include pieces from Biden’s agenda, such as lower prescription drug prices or calling for voters to support the Pennsylvania legislator to “side with Pennsylvanian families.”