Congress’ job approval rating is now 31 percent. The institution last had an approval this high during former President Barack Obama’s first year in office, when the Democratic Party controlled both chambers.
Earlier this year, Congress’ job approval rating was 23 percent, but the COVID-19 outbreak appears to have changed public perception. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, both chambers have offered economic relief to Americans, which appears to have driven the approval ratings up.
According to the poll, roughly eight-in-ten Americans approve of the first stimulus bill. Overall, 48 percent of Americans believe Congress is handling the coronavirus pandemic well. Twenty-four percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independent voters, and 39 percent of Democrats approve of Congress’ job performance.
During President Donald Trump’s first two years in the White House, when the Republican Party had control over both chambers, Republicans viewed Congress more positively than Democrats. Now, with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, Republicans have a lower of opinion of Congress.
Trump’s approval rating is relatively high as well at 49 percent. As Gallup noted, Congress’ efforts to solve the COVID-19 crisis appear to have caused the surge in approval ratings.
“Although Americans are still mostly negative toward Congress, their opinions of the institution now are the most positive they have been in over a decade. Its work to address the coronavirus crisis has likely contributed to those higher ratings. Congress has begun crafting further coronavirus relief legislation, with the House working on a bill that would provide $3 trillion in additional relief.”
The Democratic-controlled House has indeed been working on providing additional relief for businesses and workers, but Senate Republicans have argued that more deliberation is necessary before a final decision is made.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that both parties need to come together and work on addressing the coronavirus crisis. She also criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting that Congress needs to take a pause.
“He wants us to just pause. But families know that hunger doesn’t take a pause, not having a job doesn’t take a pause, not being able to pay the rent doesn’t take a pause,” Pelosi said.
The House Democrats’ $3 trillion bill — dubbed the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) — proposes additional funds for businesses and health care workers. The bill would also expand Medicare and Medicaid, aid renters and homeowners, and provide additional funding for states.