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House Republicans Finally Deliver Debt Ceiling Ransom Note
jOe: If U wAnT to sEe yR cOrvEtTe AgAiN, cAnCEl tHe cLImatE biLL & iR$
House Republicans have finally delivered their demands for raising the debt ceiling, which must be passed in a month or so to avoid the US defaulting on its debts. Among some expected bullshit like demanding pointless work requirements for Medicaid and clawing back pandemic relief funds that haven't yet been spent, the GOP wants to freeze all federal spending at 2022 levels, which would force budget cuts, and to repeal most of last year's Inflation Reduction Act tax incentives aimed at fighting climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuels. It would also reverse the funding boost for the IRS, which would actually add to the deficit by reducing tax revenue and make tax season more of a pain in the ass.
Fun fact: Thanks to the extra revenue, the IRS taxpayer help line was able to answer 88.6 percent of incoming calls, compared to just 13 percent a year ago. Seems like "Republicans want you to be on hold forever" might make for a good campaign ad.
Not surprisingly, the White House responded to the GOP proposal by, in essence, rolling video of Dana Carvey's George Bush impersonation:
Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent, not at this juncture.
Politico reports that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy plans to put the House Republican proposal to a vote next week, setting up the traditional Debt Ceiling Chicken Race in which Republicans demand sharp cuts in federal spending (but none for defense), while threatening to drive the US and world economies off a cliff, and Democrats say grow up, this is about meeting our obligations and paying the bills for spending that's already happened. President Joe Biden has said from the beginning that he won't negotiate with terrorists, got it, pal?
As E&E News points out, the Republicans' package of "savings" would slash or eliminate 24 of the climate-related tax incentives in the IRA, which are aimed at decarbonizing the nation's energy and manufacturing sectors, an absolutely necessary step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would eliminate the IRA's
new emissions credits for nuclear energy, renewable energy manufacturing, domestic sourcing of electric vehicle components, hydrogen production and extensions of the wind and solar production credits.
In sum, anything new passed by the Inflation Reduction Act would be repealed by the Republican debt plan, even as the incentives have driven historic clean energy-related investment in red and rural districts.
Even so, McCarthy "did not appear keen earlier this week to scrap the credits. [...] But the party’s right flank insisted on going after Biden’s signature accomplishment."
There goes Kevin with his signature leadership style: Doing whatever the extremists in his party demand.
The tax credits came under fire from many of the same doodieheads who passed Donald Trump's Big Fat Tax Cuts For Rich Fuckwads in 2017, because a recent analysis by Goldman Sachs estimated that the total costs of the incentives would be higher than earlier estimates for the 10-year life of the IRA. The analysis also found that the spending would result in trillions of dollars in investments and economic growth, but that part was easy to ignore.
Besides, the House Freedom Cockups decided that even though most of the IRA's clean energy investments are aimed at building up domestic green energy and manufacturing, the incentives could be made to sound scary by claiming they're a giveaway to China and to "woke corporations."
Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) observed that, in reversing a number of energy credits to their pre-IRA form, American companies would take a hit:
"Firms in China and elsewhere will grow at our expense if Speaker McCarthy gets his way. Even Republican priorities like carbon capture and biodiesel would suffer."
The bill would extend the federal government's ability to borrow money by an additional $1.5 trillion, or through March 2024, whichever comes first, so we can then look forward to another fucking debt ceiling fight as the presidential election gets rolling.
President Biden immediately rejected the GOP's hostage scheme, saying yesterday during an appearance in Maryland,
"They’re in Congress threatening to undo all the stuff that you helped me get done,” Biden said during an appearance at a Maryland union hall. “You and the American people should know about the competing economic visions of the country that are at stake right now.
On the whole, the Republican proposal would bring the US transition to clean energy to a screeching halt just as companies are already making huge investments in building up the domestic EV supply chain and clean electricity generation. We all know how much American business just hates having any kind of consistency in the tax code and industrial policy! And red states really hate jobs, too.
So what happens next? As the New York Times notes, not only is the GOP proposal dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate, it's "not at all guaranteed" that "Mr. McCarthy can get his own Republican caucus behind the bill." McCarthy will demand that Biden negotiate, because after all here's a very reasonable offer to undo one of Biden's greatest achievements, and Biden will smile, shake his head, and say "Are you kidding me, man?"
In his Maryland remarks, Biden made clear why McCarthy's plan, in a word, sucks:
“That would mean cutting the number of people who administer Social Security and Medicare, meaning longer wait times,” he said. “Higher costs for child care, significantly higher — preschool, colleges. Higher costs for housing, especially for older Americans, people with disabilities, families and children, veterans.” [...]
“They say they’re going to default unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have,” Mr. Biden said, repeatedly referring to Mr. McCarthy and his party as “MAGA Republicans.” He said Mr. McCarthy’s actions mean that Congress may fail to increase the debt limit in time to prevent a default.
“Let’s be clear,” Mr. Biden said. “If he fails, the American people will be devastated.”
Well sure, but then the Rs will blame Biden, hooray!
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