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Democrats Debate Their Big, New Budget Bill -- Even As They Line Up To Pass It
"This bill is not perfect and I am outraged by Republican senators’ opposition to key provisions like a $35 cap on insulin prices," California Democrat says
Even as House Democrats lined up to praise — and ultimately unanimously vote for — the ambitious new Inflation Reduction Act Friday, over the heads of total Republican opposition, many Democratic lawmakers still lamented that the legislation is far from perfect.
All House Democrats approved the healthcare, climate change and tax package which emerged quite by surprise just weeks ago among Senate Democrats.
Now that the bill's cleared both chambers of Congress, it's going to President Biden for what's expected to be his enthusiastic signature.
“This bill honors the Democrats' promise to American families. After we pass it and the president signs into law, we will continue to fight for more family features of the bill that are not included in this legislation. This legislation is historic, it’s transformative, and it is really a cause for celebration,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday ahead of final passage. “We will always put the people over politics, in stark contrast to the position of the Republicans with their extreme MAGA Republicans criminalizing women's healthcare, planning to end Social Security and Medicare — don't take it from me, look at their own statements on this — and attacking democracy.”
Rep Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) also praised the legislation, particularly for its provisions to ensure that huge corporations which today are paying zero federal taxes will pay a minimum.
“It's a very big deal. It also will reduce the deficit. It will tax corporations that have not been paying their fair share,” she said. “Everyone should pay their fair share. And so overall, it's a very big deal for the country.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn) slammed Republicans for refusing to work constructively on the bill.
“Right now, if you tuned into the debate on the House floor, Republicans can’t argue against cutting prices for prescription drugs for seniors. They want to, but it’s hard for them to argue against making an investment against the devastation caused by climate change,” Himes said. “For a party that claims to be the party of law and order, they’re focused on the element that would provide the IRS with a lot more, essentially, auditors to catch the tax cheats.
“And Katy, you know this, but, there are estimates that, every year, the United States fails to receive $400, $500, $600 billion in tax revenue because people cheat,” he added in an on-camera TV interview. “So, that says to me that’s what my Republican colleagues are focused on right now. Why they would want to sort of make it easier for people to cheat on their taxes is beyond me, but here we are.”
Even as they ultimately supported the legislation, several House progressives expressed disappointment, as well.
“We are at the Progressive Caucus heartbroken to see investments in care, in housing, immigration, workforce, and more left on the cutting room floor,” Rep Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a press conference outside the Capitol. “And it’s particularly outrageous that Congress was poised to cap the cost of insulin for everyone with private insurance at $35 a month until Republicans stripped it from the bill.
“And we expect this bill to pass without a single Republican vote, even though the legislation is supported by nearly three out of four Americans across the political spectrum,” Jayapal added.
Rep Barbara Lee (D-Calif) voiced similar sentiments.
“This bill is not perfect and I am outraged by Republican senators’ opposition to key provisions like a $35 cap on insulin prices. You know who that affects disproportionately? Black and brown people,” she said. “They’re putting politics over people. Families still face huge burdens, from housing to childcare, to immigration.
“We have a lot left to get done, but thanks to the relentless — and I mean relentless determination of the progressive caucus and progressives around the country — we are poised to deliver real, tangible improvements in the lives of families around the country,” Lee added.
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