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Thune: Democrats’ Big-Government, Big-Spending Agenda Does Nothing to Ease Economic Pain

“What [the Inflation Reduction Act] will do is spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on Democrats’ socialist, big-government fantasies – and raise taxes to help pay for it.”

September 8, 2022

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the Democrats’ so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” will do nothing to reduce inflation and how it will instead double down on wasteful government spending and increase the tax burden on American businesses and middle-income families. Thune noted that Democrats should start focusing on pro-growth economic policies that would actually help working families who have experienced a de facto pay cut due to record-high inflation and President Biden’s failed policies.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):


“Mr. President, a month ago yesterday, Senate Democrats shoved another partisan spending bill through the Senate – this one the inaccurately named Inflation Reduction Act.


“I say inaccurately named because the so-called Inflation Reduction Act … will do nothing to reduce inflation.


“That’s right.


“The so-called Inflation Reduction Act … will not actually reduce inflation.


“And you don’t have to take my word for it.


“The nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model said this about the bill’s impact on inflation: ‘The impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero.’


“‘Statistically indistinguishable from zero.’


“Democrats also claim that the bill will lead to deficit reduction.


“But that’s not really true either.


“In the first place, Democrats arrive at their deficit reduction assumptions using some extremely fuzzy math.


“A substantial part of their deficit reduction claims depends on not extending a program that they’ve already called for extending … and on supposedly eliminating a rule that at this point was never going to be implemented anyway.


“But even using their rosiest assumptions, the deficit reduction they would have achieved with the Inflation Reduction Act was wiped out completely eight days after the bill was signed by the president’s costly, reckless student loan giveaway.


“Mr. President, Democrats have clearly been seeing the polling on Americans’ opinion of the economy – and their lack of faith in President Biden and Democrats to deal with the economic challenges we’re facing.


“That’s unquestionably why Democrats named their bill the Inflation Reduction Act and touted their commitment to deficit reduction in an attempt to suggest fiscal responsibility.


“The problem, of course, is that their commitment to deficit reduction, inflation reduction, and fiscal responsibility was, and continues to be, nothing more than window dressing.

“At its core, the Inflation Reduction Act, like the so-called American Rescue Plan before it, is just another big-government, big-spending piece of legislation.


“It will do nothing to address the real economic challenges facing our nation.


“Instead, it will waste taxpayer dollars on Democrats’ big-government fantasies.


“It will drive up energy costs in the service of Democrats’ Green New Deal agenda.


“It will push people off private insurance and into government-run care – driving up the cost to taxpayers.


“The legislation imposes socialist-style price controls that will discourage medical innovation and reduce the number of new treatments and cures.


“It imposes new taxes on businesses that will slow economic growth and result in lower wages and fewer jobs.


“And the list goes on.


“And, Mr. President, in case there was any doubt about their intentions with this bill, Democrats made their priorities very, very clear when the Senate considered amendments.


“Democrats’ so-called Inflation Reduction Act hikes taxes on domestic oil and gas production, something that will unquestionably result in higher energy prices for American families – who are already facing high energy bills in the Biden economy.


“And during the amendment vote-a-rama on this legislation, Democrats made it very clear that they are indeed just fine with restricting American energy production and seeing Americans’ energy bills soar.


“Democrats rejected attempts to ease their tax hikes on domestic oil and gas.


“They rejected amendments to make it easier for companies to develop American oil and natural gas.


“They also rejected a comprehensive amendment to reform the burdensome permitting process, which is one of the biggest obstacles to new energy investment.


“They even rejected an amendment to prevent Democrats’ new electric vehicle tax credit from going to wealthy Americans.


“Apparently it’s just fine to support measures that would drive up Americans’ energy bills, but electric vehicle tax breaks for wealthy Americans have to be preserved.


“Not to mention the irony of U.S. automakers recently hiking prices on certain electric vehicles by $6,500 to $8,000, which roughly matches the $7,500 tax credit in the Democrats’ ‘inflation reduction’ bill.


“Mr. President, I have long been a supporter of clean energy.


“But the fact of the matter is, clean energy technology has not advanced to the point where we can solely rely on alternative energy.


“We need oil and natural gas, and we will continue to need them for a while yet.


“And efforts to discourage domestic production of conventional energy will simply drive up energy costs for hardworking Americans and force our country to rely on unstable foreign sources of oil and gas.


“That may very well be Democrats’ plan, in hopes of hastening the arrival of their Green New Deal future.   


“Mr. President, Democrats like to bill themselves as the party of the little guy.


“But their track record gives the lie to that.


“Democrats couldn’t bring themselves to support measures to lower Americans’ energy bills by increasing domestic oil and gas production because it conflicts with their Green New Deal ideology.


“But they did all unite to protect a tax deduction that mainly goes to wealthy Americans in high-tax states.


“And to make sure, as I mentioned, that wealthy Americans are able to access tax credits for electric vehicles.


“And of course they opposed a measure to prevent more audits of Americans making less than $400,000 a year.




“Democrats’ legislation includes tens of billions of dollars for new IRS agents and increased audits.


“Democrats’ hope is that more audits of Americans will help pay for some of their spending measures, like increased government health care subsidies and their Green New Deal priorities.


“The Biden administration put out a statement claiming that this wouldn’t mean increased audits of Americans making less than $400,000.


“But when Democrats had the opportunity to confirm that by supporting an amendment that would have prevented the new enforcement funds from being used to audit Americans making less than $400,000, they unanimously voted against it.


“Mr. President, I could go on.


“I haven’t even talked about the border security amendments Democrats opposed.


“Republicans thought that perhaps, while Democrats were throwing money at “environmental justice” and climate slush funds and identifying gaps in tree canopy coverage, perhaps they could spare some money for the crisis at our southern border – a crisis that Democrats have largely chosen to pretend doesn’t exist.


“But Democrats quashed any attempt to divert money to address the border crisis.


“Apparently identifying gaps in tree canopy coverage is more important than securing our southern border.


“Democrats went so far as to oppose – oppose – an amendment that would have prohibited hiring additional IRS agents until additional Customs and Border Protection agents are hired to help secure the border.

“Yes, you heard that right.


“Mr. President, I’m pretty sure Americans are more worried about our border crisis than what Democrats apparently think is an IRS enforcement crisis.


“But clearly Democrats don’t want to let border security get in the way of funding for their Green New Deal priorities or supersizing the IRS.


“Mr. President, it may have an appealing name, but as the substance of the bill demonstrates, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act is nothing more than the latest installment of Democrats’ big-government, big-spending agenda.


“It will do nothing to address the real economic challenges facing Americans.


“And it will do nothing to address Americans’ priorities.


“What it will do is spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on Democrats’ socialist, big-government fantasies – and raise taxes to help pay for it.


“Meanwhile, our inflation crisis – and our border crisis, and rising crime – will continue.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”