Note: The following is Sen. Roger Wicker’s Weekly Report and is provided by the Senator’s office.
As our economy enters a recession, Democrats in Washington have chosen to use the last remaining months of the congressional term to impose new taxes on the American people. Their $739 billion tax-and-spend bill, dishonestly titled the “Inflation Reduction Act,” has now passed both the House and Senate without a single Republican vote. As a result, job creators are now bracing for higher taxes and an economic slump with no end in sight.
It is stunning that Democrats approved this tax increase days after poor economic news had come to light. Last week, the Labor Department reported jobless claims had reached their highest level all year. The department also reported July inflation at 8.5 percent – only a meager drop from June’s dangerously high rate of 9.1 percent. Grocery prices rose by 13.1 percent in July and electricity costs soared by 15.2 percent, the largest increase since 2006. Meanwhile, workers took home three percent less in real weekly earnings as the dollar continued to lose value. This new round of taxes and spending will likely make inflation even worse and is the opposite of what working Americans need.
Small Businesses Brace for Impact
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing nearly half of the American workforce. Many of these small businesses did not survive the pandemic, and those that did are now treading water amid high inflation and a chronic worker shortage. The Democrats’ bill completely ignores these challenges. Under their legislation, small businesses that file as individuals will now have to shoulder an additional $50 billion in tax burden. They will also be much more likely to face audits from the IRS, which will now be hiring an army of 87,000 new agents. Because of this bill, Main Street businesses can expect more IRS harassment and higher compliance costs, making it that much harder to keep the doors open.
Another Step Toward Socialized Medicine
In addition to hurting our economy, this bill will likely undermine medical innovation, resulting in fewer life-saving drugs for American patients. The bill puts in place government price controls for prescription drugs, making it more risky and costly for drug developers to come up with new treatments and cures. Democrats who voted for this change want to make our system more like Europe, where socialized medicine has made many drugs “cheaper” but far less available. Between 2011 and 2018, for example, patients in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands had access to just 66 percent of new cancer drugs while Americans had access to 96 percent. With this step toward socialized medicine, we can expect fewer drugs to be developed and made available to seniors through Medicare.
Democrats Neglect Urgent Priorities
While Democrats were advancing this legislation, Republicans offered dozens of amendments to address the actual concerns of the American people. These included measures to lower energy prices by promoting U.S. energy production, including through the sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. We also sought to address the crisis on our southern border by hiring more border agents and extending the President’s deportation authority. In addition, we proposed measures to stop abortion providers from receiving special tax breaks and to prohibit the IRS from targeting religious nonprofits. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats blocked each of these amendments, revealing how out of step they are with the American people. With each passing month, Americans are losing patience with single-party rule in Washington that ignores their priorities.