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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the Democrats’ disastrous spending bill would increase inflation, raise taxes, and fund radical Green New Deal projects. Thune noted that rather than increasing accountability and improving taxpayer services, the Democrats’ bill would double the size of the Internal Revenue Service in order to increase tax audits to fund their reckless tax-and-spending spree.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, Democrats dropped the latest version of their tax and spending spree last week.
“And like every previous version, this bill is a bad deal for the American people.
“Where should I start, Mr. President?
“Maybe with the bill’s title.
“In true Orwellian style, Democrats are calling the bill the Inflation Reduction Act … even though the bill would do nothing to reduce inflation.
“And you don’t have to take my word for it.
“The nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model analyzed the bill and found that the bill would not reduce inflation.
“In fact, the analysis found that Democrats’ bill would contribute to inflation through 2024 and have no material impact on inflation in the long term.
“Mr. President, inflation has hit working Americans very hard.
“Their grocery bills have ballooned.
“Rents have skyrocketed.
“Filling up their cars costs 75 percent more per gallon than it did when President Biden took office.
“Their utility bills have increased.
“The list goes on.
“Families are having to cut back on purchases and dig into their savings or pull out their credit cards – or in some cases, visit a food bank – to make ends meet.
“And what does Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree do to help?
“Americans are dealing with the worst inflation in more than 40 years, and Democrats’ bill does nothing to help end our current crisis.
“So what does the bill do, Mr. President?
“Well, for one thing, it raises taxes.
“That’s right, Mr. President.
“Our economy has shrunk for each of the past two quarters – in fact by any common definition we are now in a recession – and Democrats’ bill raises taxes … by hundreds of billions of dollars.
“Here’s what the Democrat leader previously had to say about raising taxes in a recession: ‘If we’re in a recession and we’re in a difficult economic time, I don’t think Sen. Obama or anyone else is going to raise any taxes. You don’t want to take money out of the economy when the economy is shrinking.’
“President Obama expressed a similar sentiment: ‘[T]he last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.’
“‘The last thing.’
“Well, Mr. President, apparently that doesn’t apply when Democrats have Green New Deal projects they want to pay for.
“Democrats’ bill attempts to offset the cost of their Green New Deal spending spree by raising taxes on American businesses, particularly manufacturers.
“The proposed book minimum tax would be a $313 billion tax hike, with roughly half of the increase falling on American manufacturers.
“Mr. President, I don’t think I need to tell anyone the likely outcome of raising taxes on businesses – particularly when the economy is contracting.
“The likely outcome is less growth, lower wages, and fewer jobs.
“According to an analysis from the National Association of Manufacturers, in 2023 alone the bill would reduce real gross domestic product by more than $68 billion and result in 218,108 fewer workers in the overall economy.
“Democrats’ bill also raises taxes on the energy sector – specifically on domestic oil and gas production.
“It’s another facepalm move from Democrats.
“Currently, gas prices are 75 percent higher than they were when President Biden took office.
“Electricity prices are up.
“The cost of utility gas service is way up.
“And yet Democrats think it’s a good idea to raise taxes on domestic oil and gas production.
“Apparently Democrats want our current high energy prices to stick around for the long term.
“So what are Democrats going to use all that tax-hike money for?
“Well, for one thing, they’re going to use it to fund Green New Deal projects.
“Critical ‘priorities’ like monitoring gaps in tree canopy coverage and road equity and funding the Post Office’s purchase of electric delivery vehicles.
“Then there are the multiple slush funds for Green New Deal projects.
“And the tax credit for the purchase of a new electric car or truck.
“Of course, you’ll only be able to use the credit if you can afford to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000 – the average price for a new electric vehicle – while we’re in a recession.
“So it would almost undoubtedly be mostly Americans with higher salaries – up to $300,000 per household – who would be able to make use of this credit.
“But I guess Democrats think electric vehicle tax credits for wealthier Americans are a good use of taxpayer dollars.
“What else, Mr. President?
“I’ve mentioned the bill’s tax hikes.
“But Democrats’ bill also attempts to raise revenue by increasing IRS audits and enforcement.
“Democrats’ bill would more than double the current number of IRS employees, making the agency nearly three times larger than U.S. Customs and Border Protection – the agency charged with security at all of our nation’s borders – and more than 50 percent larger than the entire U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Democrats give the IRS a whopping $80 billion in additional funding over 10 years.
“Of that $80 billion, 57 percent goes to enforcement and 4 percent goes to taxpayer services.
“Mr. President, this is an agency that only succeeded in answering about one out of every 50 taxpayer phone calls during the 2021 tax season.
“And yet Democrats are focused not on improving the IRS’ responsiveness to taxpayers, but on boosting the number of IRS audits.
“Mr. President, I still haven’t mentioned the bill’s socialist-style price controls for prescription drugs – price controls that would result in fewer new drugs and treatments.
“A study from last November found that Democrats’ price-control plans would result in 135 fewer new drugs through 2039.
“That’s a lot of potentially life-changing – and lifesaving – treatments to lose.
“Then of course there’s Democrats’ plan to expand Obamacare subsidies to higher-earning Americans – a move which would drive up the cost of health insurance.
“I could go on.
“Mr. President, most Americans remember the lead-up to Democrats’ American Rescue Plan spending spree last March.
“We were promised that passing that bill would have big benefits for our economy and American families.
“Well, we know what actually happened.
“Democrats’ reckless spending spree helped trigger the worst inflation in four decades.
“And American families have suffered as a result.
“Now we’re being asked to swallow a similar story about Democrats’ latest spending legislation.
“This bill will help our economy, we’re told – even though we know it would make life harder for American businesses and workers at a time when our economy is already contracting.
“It will help inflation, Democrats claim … even though a nonpartisan analysis says it would do nothing to help alleviate our current crisis.
“It will reduce our deficit, Democrats say – relying on some very shady accounting measures to reach their supposed deficit reduction number.
“It will help lower energy prices, the president claims … even though new energy taxes would further inflate near-term energy bills during a season of historic prices.
“Mr. President, you would think Democrats might have been chastened by their disastrous American Rescue Plan spending spree.
“But you’d be wrong.
“Apparently Democrats are determined to get in another disastrous spending bill.
“And once again the American people will be left to suffer the consequences.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”