Progressive groups launch $2 million pressure campaign against Republicans to support Joe Biden's agenda

  • 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.
  • Led by Tax March, progressive nonprofit organizations will be holding protests and running ads versus GOP representatives in states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
  • The groups intend to highlight how popular several of Biden's key initiatives are among the public.

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.

Led by Tax March, progressive nonprofit organizations will be holding protests and running ads versus GOP representatives in states such as Ohio and Wisconsin.

The groups intend to highlight how popular several of Biden's key initiatives are among the public, according to Tax March Executive Director Maura Quint.

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. Many of these proposals are part of the ongoing fight on Capitol Hill to reach a deal on the budget reconciliation bill that could cost up to $3.5 trillion. The Senate has passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which awaits the House's 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. The survey, which asked 1,002 registered voters nationwide, showed that 47% of Republicans and over 60% of independents who took part in the poll back many of Biden's economic policies.

Republicans aren't expected to support Biden's budget plan, which is facing some resistance among centrists in the Democratic Party, as is. Yet Democrats could use GOP opposition to popular parts of the agenda as a political hammer during next year's elections.

Tax March, which is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund dark money group, is leading the effort, alongside with their campaign partners such as Progress Georgia, 99% Pennsylvania, Innovation Ohio, Center for American Progress Action Fund, MoveOn and Battle Born Progress. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, does not publicly disclose their donors and spent over $60 million backing Democratic causes during the 2020 election.

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.

"Republicans have spent the last few months trying to change the topic every chance they get, but these ad campaigns mean people will hear about it, whether Republicans like it or not," Ferguson said on Monday.

The new campaign will be taking aim at Republicans in the key states of Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The campaign looks specifically to pressure Reps. Mariannette Jane Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Steve Chabot, R-Ohio and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., organizers said. The lawmakers are all up for reelection next year.

The campaign will include a $1 million ad buy against Johnson, one of the Biden administration's leading critics in the Senate. The spot reviewed by CNBC is expected to run in Wisconsin until late October. It takes aim at Johnson for not backing key elements of Biden's agenda. It also calls on his constituents to contact the Wisconsin Republican's office to "Tell Ron Johnson: Time to say yes to building Wisconsin back better."

Jeff Garis, a leader of the effort in Fitzpatrick's district in Pennsylvania, told CNBC on Monday that, they will be gathering on Wednesday in Bucks County to "try to lift the message there, educate folks to call on Congressman Fitzpatrick to support the things that are part of the Build Back Better plan." He added that the group on Friday will be going to Fitzpatrick's district office with a similar message.

Garis said that there will likely be a few dozen people involved with the Fitzpatrick effort alone.

Mobile billboards that are expected to take aim at Fitzpatrick reviewed by CNBC include pushing pieces of Biden's agenda such as lowering prescription drug prices and calling on voters to encourage the Pennsylvania lawmaker to "side with Pennsylvania families."

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