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228 views • August 12, 2022

House Democrats Pass the Senate's Inflation Reduction Act

Capitol Report
Capitol Report
House Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act in a strictly party-line vote on Aug. 12, sending it to President Joe Biden's desk for final approval. The 220-207 vote came as little surprise, as Democrats have been outspoken in their support for the package while Republicans have come out strongly against the legislation. Four Republicans did not vote. The bill was passed by the Senate on Aug. 7 using the reconciliation process, which rendered it immune to the filibuster. On July 27, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced that he had reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to pledge his support for the $700 billion spending bill, which Democrats claim will bring in $725 billion in new revenue to the federal government and reduce the deficit by around $292 billion annually. The Inflation Reduction Act was the product of a year of harried negotiations, compromises, and disappointments for Democrats as they tried to pass the much larger $1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) barreled ahead with the vote even though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had not given its final scores yet, meaning that the actual effect the bill will have on federal revenues, spending, the deficit, and national debt are largely unknown. Republicans and Democrats alike have pointed to hundreds of economists who either support the bill or oppose it. There is no consensus among the experts, and without CBO numbers, analysts can do little more than make an educated guess about the effects it will have. Floor Debate Prior to the vote, Republicans and Democrats debated the bill for about three hours on the House floor. Democrats portrayed the bill as a timely one which will help reduce inflation and lower costs for American families. Republicans, on the other hand, contended that the bill would only worsen the situation, and blasted Democrats for moving the partisan bill through Congress without proper bipartisan consideration. "For too long, too many people in this country have felt like the work that happens in Washington isn't meant to help them," Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who led Democrats' caucus during the floor debate, said in his party's opening remarks. "And for a long time, they've been right." "At the end of the day, this is not a complicated vote—it comes down to what your values are," McGovern continued. "This is a historic bill," McGovern said, encouraging others to support the legislation. Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) echoed McGovern's support for the bill in his opening remarks. "The legislation before us today is a big deal for American families and a big deal for our planet," he said. "The Inflation Reduction Act will lower health care and energy costs for working families. This legislation finally makes the wealthiest corporations start paying their fair share in taxes, and it ensures that rich tax cheats start paying what they owe." Yarmuth said that the bill was fiscally responsible, fully paid-for, and had been endorsed by top U.S. economists. "Not one American family making less than $400,000 per year will see their federal tax bill increased by this legislation—not by a penny," Yarmuth insisted. However, some critics of the legislation have described this oft-repeated claim as misleading, saying that it ignores the trickle-down effects that raising corporate taxes will have on consumer prices and wages. In his opening remarks for Republicans, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) blasted Democrats for the haste with which they've moved the bill through Congress, with no Republican input. He also mocked the title of the bill, saying that "you would need a nanometer [or a] micrometer" to measure the effect that the legislation will have on inflation. "This is the second time we've seen this legislative vehicle. The Democrats tried to push through partisan budget reconciliation—what does that mean? That means there is zero input from the Republican side of the aisle. And why is that important? You h
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