Senator Cramer votes against Democrats’ Inflation Improvement Act

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement after voting against Democrats’ irresponsible tax and spending bill, the Inflation Enhancement Act, which was passed by the Senate today in a party vote. :

“The United States is in a recession, and instead of taking active steps to resolve the economic crisis, the Biden administration and Democrats are doubling down on the stupid policies that created this mess. Acting alone, the Senate Democrats’ reckless bill raises taxes, imposes new regulations and institutes price hikes, all of which will only make inflation worse. This bill is fiscally irresponsible, unnecessarily bureaucratic, and damaging to every sector of the US economy, from energy to agriculture to pharmaceuticals to manufacturing. It’s going to put a dent in every American’s bottom line while hiring 80,000 IRS agents to make it as painful as possible. Democrats should be held accountable for single-handedly passing the Inflation Improvement Act.

The Democrats’ 755-page Inflation Improvement Bill includes the following inflationary funding:

  • $369 billion for Green New Deal policies
    • $1.5 billion to plant trees
    • $27 billion for a green bank
    • $60 billion for environmental justice
    • Tax credits to subsidize the purchase of luxury electric vehicles for high incomes
    • Charges of $900 to $1,500 per metric ton on methane emissions from oil and natural gas

  • $64 billion to extend Obamacare subsidies
  • 80 billion dollars to oversize the tax authorities

The bill also includes nearly $20 billion in Farm Bill conservation program funding outside of the Farm Bill process. Production agriculture represents only 9% of basic expenses before the next Farm Bill negotiations. These conservation programs increase the disadvantages of production agriculture and extend green bank spending to agriculture.

The Inflation Improvement Act includes an all-new 15% accounting minimum tax for businesses with revenues under $1 billion. It is a $35 billion tax on small and medium-sized businesses according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the net effect is “less capital investment, which makes America poorer and reduces future economic growth.” Additionally, Democrats rejected amendments that would extend the state and local tax deduction (SALT) cap, paving the way for a return to massive tax relief for the wealthy in liberal states.

The JCT’s analysis reveals that average tax rates will increase for almost all income categories in 2023 under the bill. For Americans earning less than $200,000 a year, taxes will increase by $16.7 billion in 2023.

According to Penn Wharton Budget Model, the Democrats’ inflation-boosting bill contains no net reduction in the deficit over the next 5 years, let alone a statistically significant impact on reducing inflation in the 10-year window. In fact, analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that inflation could rise in 2023 due to this reckless tax and spending bill.

To oppose this irresponsible legislation, Senate Republicans proposed amendments to the bill in what is called a vote-a-rama, where they forced several votes to change or delete provisions of the underlying bill. The Republican amendments focused on tackling inflation, freeing up American energy, and ending the crisis on the southern border.

Senator Cramer proposed several amendments to the bill, including:

  • An amendment to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s strike to implement requirements forcing the restriction of electricity generation and use.
  • An amendment requiring the Department of the Interior to establish a royalty rate for renewable energy projects on federal lands equal to the royalties paid by fossil fuel projects.
  • An amendment requiring the Department of the Interior to establish a royalty rate for renewable projects on federal offshore projects equal to royalties paid by offshore fossil fuel projects.
  • An amendment to direct the use of the Defense Production Act in the Inflation Enhancement Act to increase US crude oil refining capacity to reduce gas prices.
  • An amendment to strike $2.2 billion for the purchase of more federal lands and urban tree plantings and redirect $1.6 billion for the Forest Service to perform much-needed deferred maintenance in areas recreation areas, campgrounds, Forest Service roads and trails.
  • An amendment to streamline permitting for hard rock minerals on Forest Service lands with a two-year target and bring them in line with Bureau of Land Management regulations.
  • An amendment to prohibit the use of $500 million in funds to buy or acquire uranium or other nuclear fuels from Vladimir Putin or Russia.
  • An amendment to remove a section of the Inflation Improvement Act that provides the EPA with $5 million to track corporate climate commitments.
  • An amendment to remove two sections of the Inflation Improvement Act that provides $62.5 million to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which recently withdrew streamlining from the the Trump administration’s National Environmental Policy (NEPA) in favor of the broad and obstructive NEPA proposed rules.
  • Changes to exclude electric vehicle (EV) tax credits for high-income Americans, including:
    • An amendment to increase the income threshold for the new EV tax credit to $100,000 for co-filers or surviving spouses and $50,000 for all other filers.
    • An amendment to change the income threshold for the EV credit used to $100,000 for joint filers or surviving spouses and $50,000 for all other filers. This also changes the qualifying used EV value, used vehicle price must be less than $20,000 for all used EV categories to qualify for the credit.

  • An amendment to ensure that all critical mineral components of electric vehicle batteries are subject to the same supply schedule. This would align the underlying critical mineral supply date with the battery component in-service date specified in the bill.
  • An amendment to add electric motors and their components to the same critical mineral requirements for EV batteries. It would also add electric motors to the battery manufacturing and assembly requirements in the underlying bill.
  • An amendment requiring Congress to fund the completion of the southern border wall between the United States and Mexico.
  • An amendment to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from spending the $80 billion in new funding until its backlog of tax refunds has been cleared.
  • An amendment to redirect IRS funding to address the backlog of paper tax returns, which currently stands at approximately 21.3 million unprocessed paper tax returns.
  • An amendment allowing Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) recreation sites to withhold 80% of collection point fees for site operation and facility maintenance. This aligns the Corps with the practices of other federal land management agencies, allowing Corps Districts to plan local maintenance and repair projects without the approval of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
  • An amendment requiring the General Services Administration (GSA) to identify federal buildings with underutilized space and initiate a sale of those buildings within one year to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Additionally, this amendment encourages the GSA to consider telecommuting policies when determining the appropriate use of federally managed office space.
  • An amendment to remove restrictions from the Drug Price Negotiation Program that forcefully constrain compliance from drug manufacturers without any avenue of recourse in the negotiation process.
  • An amendment to remove restrictive language from the Drug Price Negotiation Program that forcefully constrains drugmaker compliance without any avenue of recourse in the negotiation process.

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