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Crapo and Risch Vote No on Democrat Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), today voted against the Democrats’ mislabeled “Inflation Reduction Act”.

“At the beginning of this Congress, my Democrat colleagues used this same process to ram through the ‘American Rescue Plan’ along party lines, with promises that $1.9 trillion of debt-financed spending was going to save the country and fix everyone’s concerns,” said Crapo.  “Where are we today?  Inflation at 9.1 percent, which we told them was coming.  Gas prices have doubled.  Economic stagnation.  Semantic arguments about what defines a recession, like the one Democrats are making, miss the point.  Sixty-five percent of Americans already think we are in a recession, and more than eighty percent of the country say our economy is on the wrong track.  We should be working together on policies to bring us out of this economic quagmire, but the bill we voted on today doubles down on a tried-and-failed tax-and-spend strategy.  This bill does nothing to address the significant inflation we are facing, or to ease burdens born today by low- and middle-income Americans.  Rather, it promises higher taxes, more reckless spending, higher prices, a supersized IRS, and prolonged stagflation.

“Before the pandemic, we were experiencing one of the strongest economies in a lifetime.  Employment was up, wages were up, capital formation came back to the United States, and the inflation rate hovered around 1.5 percent.  We know pro-growth policies work, and I will continue to fight for them.”

Risch in a statement following today’s vote said, “We haven’t seen this kind of record inflation since Jimmy Carter was president, yet Democrats today chose to pass legislation that will raise taxes and spend hundreds of billions of dollars. These tax hikes won’t affect just the highest tax bracket – Americans making as little as $30,000 per year will pay more to the federal government because of this bill. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical innovation will be stifled, the IRS will double in size, and not one thing in the so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ will do anything to address the highest inflation Americans have experienced in 41 years. Passing this legislation and leaving it to taxpayers to foot the bill is the height of irresponsibility.”

As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Crapo spoke on the Senate Floor against the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree, outlining concerns with proposals to increase taxes on Americans across all incomes.  You can read those remarks here.

Senate Republicans filed hundreds of amendments to blunt the worst provisions in the legislation.  As the lead Republican of the Senate Finance Committee, Crapo offered several commonsense amendments to the Democrats’ social spending spree, none of which were adopted.  Crapo’s amendments included:

Prohibiting the Use of Additional IRS Funding to Audit Taxpayers with Taxable Income Under $400,000: Democrats’ bill included a massive $80 billion in unaccountable funding for the IRS, more than half of which is dedicated to enforcement.  This amendment would have prevented the use of additional IRS funds from being used for audits of taxpayers with incomes below $400,000 in order to protect low- and middle-income earning American taxpayers from an onslaught of audits from an army of new IRS auditors funded by an unprecedented, nearly $80 billion, infusion of new funds. While Democrats chose to shirk their professed “intent” and misdirect with stale rhetoric about “tax cheats” and “the rich,” none chose to vote for this amendment which independent analysts have shown would protect middle-class American workers and small businesses from increased taxes resulting from an audit tsunami released by the Democrat-supersized IRS.

Protecting Taxpayers from IRS Targeting for Political, Religious, or Ideological Beliefs: This amendment would have prevented the use of additional IRS funds for audits of taxpayers with incomes below $400,000, or targeting of taxpayers for political, religious, or ideological beliefs.

Preventing New IRS Systems to Monitor Taxpayers’ Bank Accounts: The Administration has proposed allowing the IRS to monitor the transactions of deposits and withdrawals of Americans who have more than $10,000 worth of transactions in a year—a pernicious bank-reporting dragnet.  While explicit language authorizing the Democrats’ desire to snoop on Americans’ bank transactions was not included in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, Crapo’s amendment would have prevented the IRS from using funding to construct or operate a system for providing information on and monitoring taxpayer flows of deposits or withdrawals in taxpayers’ private accounts with financial institutions or payment providers in order to protect taxpayer privacy. 

Replacing Bureaucratic Drug Price Controls with Solutions that Lower Costs while Ensuring Access to Life-Saving New Treatments and Cures: This amendment would have replaced the system of bureaucratic drug price controls that will lead to higher launch prices, stifle growth, gut domestic manufacturing jobs and aid foreign adversaries, like China, with Crapo’s Lower Costs, More Cures Act, legislation that would lower prescription drug prices and encourage new treatments.

Protecting Taxpayer Data and Preventing Data Leaks: This amendment would have provided for the use of Internal Revenue Service funds to further privacy protections against leaks of private, legally protected taxpayer data outside of the Internal Revenue Service, as we have seen with leaks of private, legally-protected individual taxpayer data to the pro-tax media group ProPublica, and for establishment of universal audit trails to track the utilization and access of personal taxpayer data at the IRS to monitor who within and outside of the IRS is looking at your personal tax information.

Redirect $80 billion IRS Slush Fund to Shore Up Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund: Rather than provide an unprecedented $80 billion infusion of taxpayer funds to the IRS, this amendment would have repurposed the use of those taxpayer resources to help shore up the nearly-exhausted Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.